Petroleum products with high sulphur content, despite the earlier ban by the Federal Government on importation of such products into the country, still pervades the Nigerian market with the resultant effects of premature and high death rates among many other ailments.
The ban, which was supposed to be effected four years ago, is yet to be enforced by the Nigerian government; consequently, the seamless importation of such bad petroleum products into the country.
According to The Punch Newspaper, most petroleum products consumed in Nigeria are imported with sulphur content which may be as high as 1,000 parts per million for petrol and 3,000 parts per million for diesel.
It was also reported that on December 1, 2016, Nigeria like some other countries in the West Africa region, met in Abuja and agreed to ban the importation of ‘dirty fuels’ coming from Europe into the African sub-regions.
At the Abuja meeting, it was unanimously agreed by the countries represented which comprises, Nigeria, Ghana, Republic of Benin, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire that petroleum products coming into each of these countries must have a limit of 50 parts per million sulphur content in it.
However, because the prohibition is yet to be enforced in Nigeria, since the July 1, 2017 set for the mission, petroleum products imported into the country are still very high in sulphur contents.
To this, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), an international resource watchdog group, in a recent report, stated that, researchers found fuel imported from Europe to Nigeria as extremely toxic.
It was also discovered by the group that, such fuel pumped into Nigeria’s filling stations, exceeds the European Union pollution limits. An assertion the Programme Manager of the watchdog group, Florence Kayemba, has reiterated.
She said, “Our research suggests that Nigeria is having dirty fuel dumped on it that cannot be sold to other countries with higher and better implemented standards. Kayemba continued that, “the situation of toxic fuel into the country is so bad that the diesels sampled are even of lower quality than the ones produced in artisanal refining camps in the Niger Delta Creeks.
It is therefore, the opinion of the Network group that the toxic products may be responsible for the premature death of people (Nigerians) estimated to be 114,000.
As a reinforcement to this claim, the SDN group reported the Public Eye investigation and that of the Dutch government reports, that European refineries and other commodity brokers, blend crude with benzene and other carcinogenic chemicals, which cause pollutions, toxic to humans and causes vehicles breakdown.
In addition, the United Nations Environment Programme said in December 2016 that, it is the dirty fuel imported into Nigeria that causes air pollutions, through vehicles emissions, hazardous to humans existence; but that the problem can only be resolved if there is a ban on dirty fuel importation.
In a similar vein, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, in a report, ranked Nigeria third in the world for pollution related deaths and sixth in premature deaths; while a new survey by some university researchers published in the journal of science, established that there is a “link between poor academics in childhood and exposure to air pollution” which inhibits their spelling, reading, comprehension and mathematics skills.