The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has decided to introduce re qualification of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder to ascertain their quality and shelf life.
SON Director-General, Osita Aboloma, who was represented by the Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Department, Obiora Manafa said that the agency destroyed over 5,000 cylinders worth more than N51.3 million at its warehouse at Amuwo-Odofin in Lagos.
According to him, “Requalification scheme is an exercise where cylinders will undergo recertification test every five years till it reaches its 15-year life span. Any cylinder that fails such a test will be withdrawn from circulation.”
Speaking to the media during the exercise, he assured that once the requalification exercise takes off, many accidents occasioned by cylinder explosions will be reduced to the barest minimum.
“However, this exercise cannot be carried out by SON alone but by all the stakeholders in the industry like the DPPR, retailers, marketer’s etcetera”. He lamented that one of the major challenges threatening the take-off and success of the scheme is the issue of ownership of the cylinder.
Manafa added that such schemes are easy in countries like China where cylinders are owned by the government. In such countries, expired cylinders are withdrawn from circulation and replaced by standard ones. “In Nigeria, how can one force a consumer to drop expired cylinder and purchase a new one? What if she argues she has no money for a new one? However, we shall surmount that challenge.”
Journalists were taken round the site to observe the destruction of the over 5,000 substandard Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders worth N51.3 million. Manafa urged consumers to only buy cylinders that have SON printed on them and called consumers to also desist from using cylinders above 6.5kg as camping gas.
“Having a cooking pot on top of the cylinder as high as 12.5kg stands the risk of tilting over. It is also highly dangerous to subject the high volume of LPG in a high-volume capacity cylinder to heat from the cooker that is directly on top of the cylinder.” He said only 3kg, 5kg and 6.25kg cylinders are used for camping gas and fitted with camping valves, stressing that any cylinder above 6.25kg used for camping shall be seized and destroyed.
“There is a need to adhere strictly to standards when dealing in LPG cylinders. It is highly dangerous to use cylinders of higher capacities like 12.5kg and above as camping gas where burners are fitted on top of the cylinders,” he warned.
The brand names of the cylinders indicated they were imported by different businessmen. The destroyed cylinders were in sizes of 50kg, 12.5kg, 6kg and 3kg and had branded names such as Anadolugaz, Royaltek, Setro, Repsol and Safic. The cylinders were seized by SON during the first quarter of 2019.
Aboloma said that some of the brand new cylinders failed the agency’s mandatory test while others were not manufactured according to the expected specifications.
He said that some were fairly used cylinders imported into Nigeria without authorisation from SON, which made them contraband goods.
“We are here today to destroy all these cylinders because we cannot allow them to get into the market. They are threats to safety; they are threats to human lives and properties of Nigerians. So, because we cannot burn them, we are cutting them and will thereafter send them to steel plants where they will be recycled for manufacturing of other products,” Aboloma said.
He advised importers to always do the right thing by following the procedures set up by SON for LPG cylinder importation into the country.
The director-general, however, urged Nigerians to purchase only cylinders with SON registration marks in order to safeguard their homes from fire incidents caused by substandard cylinders.