Nairobi authorities had closed at least ten gas refilling premises in residential areas by Wednesday following Governor Johnson Sakaja’s Tuesday directive for the closure of such premises within 24 hours.
Heeding Sakaja’s order, City Hall Askaris happily launched a crackdown in several parts of the Capital targeting gas-refilling stations operating within a 200-meter radius of residential areas.
Governor Sakaja confirmed the closures on Wednesday, directing the county secretary to proceed with shutting down at least 100 more plants situated within Nairobi’s residential areas.
Although the county government does not issue licenses to these establishments, Governor Sakaja insisted that their operation within residential estates will not be permitted. He said the closure of these premises is aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of Nairobi residents.
“There must be order in the city, and so far, we have closed ten gas refilling premises operating within Nairobi estates. Even If it is not the duty of the county to issue licenses to such premises, we shall not allow them within the residential estates,” Sakaja said.
“Even if they have a NEMA and EPRA license, Nairobi County will not condone operations risking people’s lives,” he added.
Sakaja cited an instance of a resident offering gas refill services within their house as an example, urging citizens to contribute by reporting any illicit businesses operating in proximity to their homes.
“Today I received a message informing me about someone refilling gas cylinders inside his house in an estate in the Buruburu area. If something went wrong and an explosion happened, how many would die?” the county boss posed.
In justifying the crackdown, Sakaja criticized individuals supporting the gas refilling plants and advised them to relocate these stations to industrial or other commercial areas.
“You know the population residing along Kinyanjui Road and Kabwagi. People are refilling gases in there, very wrong. There are many ways of making money, however, in situations where human lives are in question, we can’t second-guess our decisions,” Sakaja stated during the groundbreaking ceremony of Mutuini market.
This comes after Interior CS Kithure Kindiki on February 2, announced a nationwide crackdown on all illegal gas refilling sites, including the demolition of those operating without a license.