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Fridge work banned after explosions

NIGERIA: The Nigerian state of Ogun has banned the sale of refrigerants and the servicing and repairing air-conditioning and refrigerating units following a number of fatal explosions.

On Friday, the Ogun State government imposed a ban on the sale of industrial gas after five recent explosions in state capital Abeokuta.

Seven people have died and at least eight injured in at least five explosions across the city in the last two weeks. Initial reports suggest the explosions may have a number of causes including fake or faulty cylinders, contaminated gas and human error. 

In announcing the temporary ban on industrial gases on Friday, state commissioner for special duties and intergovernmental affairs Femi Ogunbanwo said: “Anyone found guilty of selling adulterated gas products or violating safety protocols would have full weight of the law to contend with.”

On Sunday, the special adviser to the Governor on Environment, Ola Oresanya, announced an extension of the order by banning all servicing and repair of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.  

“Technicians who specialise in the repairs and servicing of these cooling systems, and dealers on the affected gas types, are directed to adhere strictly to this ban in their own interest and that of the public,” he said.

“With the recent incidence of gas explosions in Ogun state, the State government in its bid to ensure that no further lives are lost through similar circumstances, or any other avoidable circumstance whatsoever is placing a ban on all cooling systems related gas sales, purchase and use, until further notice. Compliance is not optional.”

Last week, an explosion at the Presidential Library killed two engineers who were reported to be refilling gas into the air conditioners. A day later, two people were taken to hospital for after an unattended gas cylinder exploded in the yard of a construction company. 

The previous week, an infant and two other persons were burnt to death after an explosion as a technician was attempting to refill the gas of a refrigerator. While there has been no official comment on the cause of the explosion, some reports have claimed a technical error on the part of the engineer. 

In a separate incident, a person lost a limb in an explosion blamed on “refrigerator gas”.

The same week, two people died when an oxyacetylene cylinder exploded as engineers were working on a revolving door at the city’s Conference Hotel. Three others were injured. Initial reports have blamed a sub-standard cylinder bought from a local market.

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