Students of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) are protesting against the siting of a SEL filling station behind their school and have vowed to close it down on their own if prompt measures are not taken to close it.
“We the Students’ Representative Council of the UPSA, are unequivocally protesting against the siting and operation of the fuel station in question, which is too close to the University community,” the statement said.
It noted that the SEL fuel station is 5 meters behind a mosque and 3 meters adjacent to a 3000-seater capacity auditorium all under construction for the school.
In the wake of gas/fuel explosions and fire outbreaks, it feared the lives of the nearly 3000 students who use the school’s walkway 3 meters away from the fuel station are in danger.
The Environmental Protection Agency EPA, requires fuel service stations to cite fuel pumps at a minimum of 30 meters away from adjoining residential buildings.
But addressing a press conference yesterday, the student leaders accused the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of failing to hold the owners of the Strategic Energy Limited (SEL) to this requirement.
“Regrettably, the EPA has still not responded to the school’s request [why the school was exempted from stakeholder consultations with residents in the area].
Together with other student bodies like the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS) , among others, they threatened to close down the facility on their own, if their calls for it to be decommissioned fall on deaf ears.
“We are sending this strong signal today that if measures are not taken to close down the fuel station, the leadership will organize the students to picket at the EPA, NPA and the La-Nkwantanan Madina Municipality. We will also embark on several demonstrations to register our protests until the various authorities at the EPA and NPA take the necessary action to save our lives. We may be forced to defend ourselves by closing down the fuel station on our own” Sydney Quartey the SRC President warned.
But speaking to Citi News the Managing Director of Strategic Energy Limited (SEL) Johnny Blagogee argued that he has not broken any regulations adding the facility meets all international safety regulations.
“I don’t think we have broken any rules. We sent our drawings and documents to the relevant authorities and they have given us our permit. Our pumps are within the allowable distances from the houses in question. We have put in high safety equipment to prevent any spillage. We also have leak detectors installed on the lines so that should there be any leakage there will be a beep and we then we will attend to it immediately. We have even gone further to install the hydrant which is the only hydrant in the area at the facility so that should there be any the fire tenders can easily get water and attend to situations” he said.
Johnny Blagogee who is also the Chairman of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies discredited any rumours suggesting he used his clots to buy his way through.
He told Citi News that the out gone Municipal Chief Executive for the La-Nkwatanang-Madina Municipality Mr. Franklin Anku was very strict with him even after the EPA and NPA granted him permit. He revealed that the MCE consented to the building of the facility after the former Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Joshua Alabi okayed it.
By: Caleb Kudah/citifmonine.com/Ghana