By Grace Alegba
Mr Ephraims Sheyin, Head of Lagos Operations (HLO), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), has appealed to the nation’s safety experts to intensify ongoing efforts toward safeguarding Nigerians from occupational and related hazards.
Sheyin made the appeal on Sunday while receiving members of the Society of Energy Administrators (SEA), Nigeria, who paid a courtesy visit to NAN office in Lagos.
He thanked SEA for taking up the challenge of trying to correct anomalies that had consistently claimed lives and destroyed properties.
“Such anomalies infringe on the rights of consumers, workers and citizens. They also destroy the environment.
“The enthronement of Quality Health Safety and Environmental (QHSE) Risk Management Accountability is timely for standards enforcement to guarantee safety of Nigerians in all sectors of the economy,” he said.
The managing editor lamented occupational and industrial negligence in various segments of the nation’s economy and national life leading to losses and damages to humans and the environment due to non-adherence to ethics and standards
“I am very happy that you have taken it upon yourselves to look at the safety of Nigerians as they go about enjoying facilities provided for us.
“We have a lot of situations that make Nigerians very vulnerable. Sometimes electricity technicians climb poles to fix faults and end up dying there.
‘`You see them struggling with naked wires; that struggle continues up till the time they give up without any possibility of assisting them.”
He regretted that Nigerians had been victims of poor services, poor operations management and delivery, and called for adequate legislation to enforce accountability.
Citing the transport sector as an example, the HLO said that commuters were most times faced with the hazard of boarding poorly maintained commercial vehicles and keep praying to God for safe journeys.
Sheyin commended SEA inaugurated in May, 2021 for coming on board to fill the vacuum to ensure industry players and other professionals became liable for any actions that impact Nigerians and environment negatively.
He stressed the need to adopt the right technology in operations so as to reduce negligence and recklessness that could jeopardise safety and operational efficiency.
“We have to force those responsible for making these things work to make them work. It is the duty of Nigeria and Nigerians to ensure the safety of people that use facilities.
“Even the electricity that we enjoy, what is the quality of safety? There could be power surge and every electrical appliance could go into flames.
“Sometimes, victims drag electricity providers to court, but when you reach the courts, you will find that there are millions of worse cases already filed against them.”
Speaking on NAN operations, Sheyin said that the Agency had more than 2,000 subscribers.
“We have more than 2,000 subscribers with some based in the country while many are international. We also have a partnership with leading global news agencies on news exchange.
“As an Agency owned by the Federal Government, we emphasise the need for truthful, factual, timely news that unite the nation. We have a very wide reach. So, if you talk to NAN, you have talked to all.”
He assured the SEA officials that NAN would support its activities with adequate publicity to educate Nigerians and ensure that the National Assembly promulgated a law that would guarantee sanity and safety.
Earlier, the President of the group, Dr Yekeen Adeboye, who led the delegation, had raised an alarm over lack of risk management accountability in the nation due to obsolete laws.
Adeboye, while citing an example, said that vehicle inspectors usually checked documents and not infractions of non-compliance to Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) Risk Management Accountability on the highway.
“Such non-compliance can precipitate disaster, but it is hardly emphasised,” he said.
He said that human life, health, assets and environment were important but had often suffered due to the absence of a professional body to coordinate safety factors.
“That gap has given room for lapses; SEA is focused on filling the vacuum.”
He said that SEA was committed to building a culture of safety accountability and QHSE risk management accountability in the administration of energy services.
He also regretted that existing risk management agencies like Vehicle Inspection Service, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Civil Defense Corps and facility managers were operating with obsolete laws that could not enforce safety compliance.
He also lamented that safety stakeholders do not have QHSE solutions to health, safety and environmental standards against unforeseen hazards and technical infractions that could lead to disasters or consumers rights breaches.
According to him, the lack of QHSE is responsible for road crashes, environmental pollution, tanker explosions and several other threats to human life in telecommunication, oil and gas, transportation and other sectors.
Adeboye, a petrochemical engineer and an accredited environment management consultant, said that the society was already in partnership with Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Lagos State Government towards evolving new templates for laws in tune with current realities.
“SEA is also collaborating with federal and state governments as well as various professional bodies to regulate all fields to ensure safety of lives, property and the environment,” he said. (NAN)