Dr Timothy Anzaku, a representative of the community, told newsmen on Sunday in Lafia that the construction of the gas plant in the area posed serious danger to the lives of the residents.
He said that when the residents got wind of the construction of the gas plant in 2017, they mobilised and lodged complaint to all relevant authorities with a view to stopping the project.
Anzaku listed the relevant authorities as the State Ministry of Lands, Urban Development Board and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
He said that their fear was reinforced by the Sept. 10, 2018, gas explosion in Lafia during which several lives were lost.
Anzaku explained that more than 200 members of the community had signed the petition seeking to stop the construction of the gas plant.
According to him, contrary to expectation, construction work began on the site in January this year and is nearing completion.
He further maintained that the intention of the community was for the general good of all, considering the growing population of the area.
“We are only legitimately exercising our role in partnering with the government in working towards mitigating the risk that has the capacity to devastate the community,” Anzaku added.
Reacting, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulrahman, Controller of DPR in the state, however said that due diligence was followed before the approval for construction of the plant.
According to him, before DPR grants approval for such plant, it must have gotten the necessary certifications from the Ministry of Land, Urban Development Board as well as the fire service.
Abdulrahman said that DPR also conducts Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before granting final approval for such projects.
“All these checks and assessments were done to ensure that the company met all the conditions before we granted the approval.
“We also met with the community upon the receipt of their petition where most of them gave their consent after necessary explanations,” Abdulrahman added.
He said that DPR was closely monitoring the construction of the plant to ensure that all safety gadgets were installed before operation in order to allay the fears of the community.
The DPR controller further explained that the 2018 gas explosion in Lafia was because the owner of the gas plant was operating illegally and without recourse to necessary safety rules.