The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) says selling of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, also known as cooking gas, is exempted from the lockdown put in place by the government to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.
NALPGAM made the clarification in a statement issued by its Executive Secretary, Mr Bassey Essien, in Lagos on Wednesday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast on Sunday announced the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) effective 11 p.m. on March 30.
Some state governments had also made similar pronouncements restricting human and vehicular movements within their domains to contain the spread of the virus.
Essien noted that NALPGAM, thereafter, sought clarification from the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Resources on the inclusion of gas plants and retailer outlets as essential services to the people.
According to him, the clarification was also sought to avoid the overzealousness of security personnel in enforcing the order.
He said the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, granted the approval that gas plants and cooking gas retailers and their personnel should be classified as essential service providers.
Essien said the government agreed that their product was essential in ensuring the sustainability of the people’s continued stay at home to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
He said: “The fact that people have to stay indoors for two weeks in the first instance, entails that households must cook and eat for the stay at home order to be effective.
“While the directive listed petroleum products and petrol stations as essential services, the association needed a clarification on the status of gas filling plants and cooking gas retail outlets as cooking is essential to the survival of households.
“Therefore LPG plants are part of the essential services and are thus exempted from the lockdown.
“They should thus be granted access to the smooth running of their facilities and operations and also free movement of their personnel from their homes to the facilities.”
Essien noted that they must, however, maintain all safety and hygiene measures put in place to curtail the spread of the virus, saying that their personnel must have their identity cards for ease of identification.
He enjoined other states to emulate Lagos State in exempting LPG retailers from the lockdown, noting that a letter had been forwarded by NALPGAM to the Nigeria Governor’s Forum in that regard.
Essien advised the citizens to support the government in respecting and observing all the precautionary measures put in place to tackle the pandemic.
He also thanked individuals and organisations that had made financial, material donations and offering expert and professional services to contain the spread of the virus.