Couple of years stumbled over and a nation was choked with its negligence on the health and safety of its citizens. Series of negative events skyrocketed and drew the world’s attention towards the nation.
The 28th of June 2018 was a disastrous situation in the country when a fuel-laden tanker exploded on the Otedola bridge, Lagos. Innocent citizens were burnt alive, trapped in their cars. This is just one of the series of accidents on the same Otedola bridge. Few days later, there was another gas pipeline explosion at the new Ogijo area of Ogun State.
Two months later, another pipeline explosion occurred in Umueze community of Abia State. On the 4th of June 2019, 10 dead when cars got burnt during an explosion after a breach of fuel pipeline in Ijegun, Lagos. Few weeks later, another pipeline explosion rocked Kom-Kom community area of Oyibo LGA in rivers state. Just two months after, NNPC truck explosion erupted Abura crude line in Ughelli, Delta state. A month later, another fire outbreak once again occurred at Adeshola Street, Cele Egbe in Idimu Egbe LCDA, Lagos state. On the 29th of November, 2019, gas explosion occurred in Ajegunle, Lagos.
Also what comes to mind is the gas explosion that rocked satellite town in Lagos, where over 50 houses were destroyed after an NNPC pipeline explosion around Abule Egba in January, 2020. Ifako Ijaye in Lagos state also experienced a brutal gas tanker truck explosion. The Abeokouta explosion is still burning in our heart.
Just a few weeks ago, dozens of houses got burnt when a fuel tanker overturned and spilt content to roast the nation and its citizen in Delta State.
All highlighted are just a few of the series of explosions that occurred in couple of years back. We haven’t mentioned car accidents, truck falling on cars, house fires, market fires among others. The psychological impact of work-related and “traffic” related stress hasn’t been mentioned. Shall we speak about Workplace accidents that occur on a daily basis, where workers sustain serious injuries leading to permanent disabilities or death? Globally, 6,300 people die daily as a result of Occupational Accident and diseases. More than 2.3million die per year. Also, 317million accidents occur on the job globally. what of the state of waste management system where drainage systems are blocked leading to flooding and gutters turning into stagnant canals.
These among others are serious safety concerns that need urgent attention. A day like a world safety day should be a platform to point out the state of safety of a great nation. While the government is establishing policies, guidelines, regulations etc, their implementation is what determines its effectiveness. It not to establish guidelines, policies and regulations without a follow-up enforcement action to ensure compliance.
There is no way a nation can anticipate, prepare and respond to a crisis if it doesn’t carry out accident investigation on previous accidents. This is lagging in Nigeria quest to ensure safety of its citizens. Accidents investigation reveals causes of accidents and its corrective action, including adequate controls to be put in place to prevent re-occurrence. finally, sharing of lessons learnt to the general public. No wonder we have same series of saddening events reoccurring several times. Some even reoccur in the same location such as the famous Otedola Bridge.
The great importance of data collation and analysis in building a resilience Occupational Safety and Safety system can’t be overemphasized. Nigeria does not have a proper record of numbers of accidents, be it road accident, Occupational Accidents or are there figures to give the trend of incidents, dangerous occurrences, explosions and death of citizens as a result of the absence of deliberate safety consciousness in the management of Safety in the nation. Companies do not report accidents as the system has permitted it. Meanwhile, People die on a daily basis, permanent disabilities occur numerously where workers hands are cut by equipment like sacrificial lamb and we do not have specific data to analyze all these occurrences so as to establish areas of improvement and its full implementation.
The cost of Safety and the cost of accidents are on two extreme opposite ends. Lagos state government informed the public that 9 billion Naira was lost to fire accidents alone in 2020 alone. Most of the fires were preventable accidents. And this is just on fire in Lagos alone. 9 billion Naira will build at least 9 well equipped standard hospitals. Billions of Naira are lost not only to fire accidents but also to gas explosions like the one which destroyed 50 buildings. Damaged roads result in various accidents where lives and billions are lost again. Hence we spend another billion upon billion in a bullion van to repair the road which could have been prevented if an adequate safety management system is in place.
Of all the states in Nigeria, Lagos state is the only state establishing a commission to handle the issue of safety. This is a welcomed development and a good example to be emulated by other states. The Lagos state safety commission should also ensure full implementation of established policies, standards and regulations.
With the full advent of Covid, there was a bit of concentration on safety as it affects every single person. The word “safety” became a household name. Even though there are lots of gaps, loops holes and a copy and paste solution from the government, at least if same energy is also focused on the complete safety of the citizens as a kick-off, it will go a long way in adding to the economic values of the nation because billions, trillions of Naira are being lost directly and indirectly.
We have lost heroes already, but we can still keep the ones available and pave way for the coming ones to live safely so as to contribute their quota to the growth of the nations. Our condolences go to the families of our falling heroes who have been victim of Accidents that could have been prevented if there was an actively working safety system in place. Government needs full responsibility and accountability.
In my opinion, having a separate ministry of public safety will further enhance the performance of the nation on safety. Strong disciplinary actions should be taken on violators. Nigeria as a nation needs to invest fully in occupational safety and health system. We need to focus on the critical need to improve capacity to collate date and utilize Occupational safety and health data because when these data are available, they are analyzed, trends and patterns are observed and corrective measures are put in place not only to prevent accidents but to remove the billions upon billions lost to the negligence of safety in the nation. To improve the overall safety culture. The culture that brings every other culture together.
Aledeh News is not liable for opinions expressed in this article, they’re strictly the writer’s