The Lagos State First Lady has observed the need to adequately equip First Responders and Disaster Managers in all States of the Federation with sufficient knowledge and skills to protect lives and property, with emphasis on promoting Disaster Reduction concepts rather than Response and Recovery.
Speaking at the simulation exercise conducted by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), at its Cappa Base in Oshodi, Dr. Sanwo-Olu commended LASEMA and all other stakeholders for a job well done on their collaboration to ensure the safety of lives and property of residents.
While noting that Lagos is susceptible to Flooding, Fire, Road Traffic Accidents, Pipeline Vandalism and Explosions, among others, due to the peculiarity of its topography, climate condition, vegetation and strategic location, she urged the stakeholders to brace up for more challenges ahead while praising LASEMA for its effective deployment of the newly-acquired light rescue equipment to enhance its Disaster Management efforts in the State.
Dr. Sanwo-Olu, who described LASEMA as a “Child of Circumstance” created in 2007 in the aftermath of the infamous Ikeja Army Cantonment bomb blast, expressed joy at the momentous growth of the Agency and advised residents to be safety conscious by resolving to take individual responsibility to ward off any potential threat, saying “It is our collective responsibility to work with the Government to protect us”.
On his part, the Honourable Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Engr. Tayo Bamgbose-Martins, stated that Disaster Prevention and Management is a top priority of the present administration in line with its T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, adding that the State government has always placed a premium on the safety of lives and property of Lagosians, while striving towards ensuring that losses are kept to the barest minimum even when an unforeseen emergency occurs.
He stated that the simulation exercise was meant to develop the resilience of the emergency responders through proper preparedness and expressed his satisfaction with the performance of LASEMA and its sister agencies, maintaining that the Agency has lived up to the expectations of the people and the government, just as he thanked the First Lady for gracing the occasion and supporting the cause of the Agency.
Earlier, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of LASEMA, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu expressed the Agency’s gratitude to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for constantly upgrading and re-equipping the Agency to serve Lagosians better.
He averred that Emergencies/Disasters are an inevitable aspect of life in the constantly evolving economic capital and international business hub that Lagos is, noting that the Agency has an established and functional emergency response structure that runs all sections of the Emergency Disaster cycle effectively.
The Director-General reiterated that the exercise was designed for a better Emergency/Disaster Management, Risk Reduction and Response time, appealing to residents to always give way on the roads and at incident scenes to allow Emergency responders conduct safe rescue operations, rather than crowding the scene in attempts to take pictures for social media stunts.
LASEMA’s Director-General, who led the operation which simulated an accident involving a petroleum tanker that burst into flames and affected some commercial and privately-owned vehicles, said the exercise was also necessary to demonstrate the Agency’s preparedness and teamwork with other sister agencies during emergency situations.
“The scenario for the simulation exercise was scientifically determined through available data from the LASEMA database. It also revealed that the Agency attended to 651 Road crash incidents, made up of 340 accidents, 138 truck/tanker accidents, 92 fallen container incidents, and 81 fallen tankers while the Agency successfully saved 1,874 lives and property worth several billions of naira”, Oke-Osanyintolu said.
The simulation exercise was also witnessed by officials of the Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency, members of the Nigerian Police Force, the Lagos Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps and LASTMA among others.