.Many dead, burnt beyond recognition in Bauchi auto crash

…Moves against cholera, launches water check, mobile labs

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Government has expressed concerns over the impacts of the revenue and property losses during fire disasters on the state’s economy, urging residents to install firefighting equipment in their homes and offices.

It said that such revenue and property which the state lost during the present year and previously could be deployed to further improve the state’s economy.

The Director of the state’s Fire and Rescue Service, Margret Adeseye, made the remarks on Wednesday, during the kick-off of the 2021 annual fire evacuation drill exercise themed: “Sustaining Lagos economy through fire prevention.”

Adeseye expressed displeasure over the number of fire disasters recorded in 2021, saying,” /we have to ensure a drastic reduction going forward.”

The fire boss noted that the number of disasters recorded during the year was less than the previous year but there was a need for Lagos, been the commercial nerve centre of the country to record lesser fire incidents.

According to her, “We are working daily to bring the number of fire disasters to the barest minimum because a reduction will help the state’s economy to develop geometrically.

 “The more fire outbreaks, the more the losses and the more the economy suffer funds that can be channeled to provide other needs across the state.

“And that is why we have decided to educate the public servants and residents of Lagos during this window on fire disaster preventions across the state.

“Our aim is to bring fire disaster to the lowest in Lagos”.

On sensitization, Adeseye explained that residents would during the 20 days enlightenment campaign be educated on what they have to do away with anything that can “cause fire disaster in our homes and offices”.

She added: “We will also be educating them on the importance of installing firefighting equipment in their houses and offices. And to often alert the Lagos State Fire Service whenever they discover any fire issues either major or minor in their communities”.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental relations, Dr. Omobolaji Gaji, said that both the government and citizens record losses whenever fire disaster occurs in the state.

Gaji noted that the funds expended on firefighting by the government could often be deployed towards providing other amenities for residents across the state, adding that these funds are spent on responding to emergencies.

He added that this was the reason the government decided to continuously train civil servants and residents on fire preventive measures.

“The importance of this exercise cannot be overemphasized. Like you see in the THEME agenda, what we focus on is public order and safety.

“So the administration of Sanwo-Olu has empowered the fire service and other agencies responsible for safety to go out and mitigate cases of fire disaster so that lives and property would be protected.

“And doing this, we will be able to reduce the cost that often goes into rebuilding after fire incidents. We believe that through preventive measures, money and lives would be saved.

Water check, mobile labs

Meanwhile, Lagos State Government on Wednesday unveiled the state-of-the-art Water Check and Mobile Laboratories to be administered by the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission, LASWARCO, as part of efforts to monitor the quality of water served to residents and effluent discharged into the environment.

The commissioning of the Water Check laboratory, located within the State Secretariat Complex, Alausa, Ikeja, and the Mobile Lab, was part of the plan of the state government to comprehensively address the outbreak of cholera outbreak in Nigeria.

Nigeria is seeing one of its worst cholera outbreaks in years. As of September 14, 2021, at least 69,925 suspected cholera cases were recorded in 25 states across the country and Abuja, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, while about 2,323 people have died from the suspected cases of cholera this year.

Speaking at the unveiling, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the development was a testament to the commitment of the administration of the Governor, Sanwo-Olu to the delivery of Sustainable Development Goal Six (SDG 6) targeted at ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

“Indeed, this check laboratory is purposely established to improve the capacity of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission for effective and efficient monitoring of the quality of water produced and served to Lagosians and the quality of effluent discharged from wastewater treatment into the environment; consequently aiding the sustainable use of water resources in the State.

“Without doubt, the establishment of this check laboratory will ensure Regulatory Compliance, Control Test Intensity Level, Repeatability and Objectivity,” Bello said, adding that it was in line with the Health and Environmental component of the THEMES Agenda of the state government.

Bello said the development would further strengthen the pursuit of ensuring compliance to the drinking water quality standards of World Health Organisation (WHO), Lagos State Drinking Water Quality, and the WHO effluent quality standards, just as he urged all players and other critical stakeholders in the state’s water sector to imbibe and sustain the culture of willful compliance to regulations of the State.

Also, Executive Secretary of LASWARCO, Mrs Funke Adepoju, said the construction of the first state-owned water check laboratory was approved by the Governor to aid the commission in the discharge of its compliance responsibilities with the aim of preserving the health and wellbeing of residents.

She said the Water check laboratory is equipped to carry out a wide range of water and wastewater analysis including physical and chemical tests, biological and chemical oxygen demand parameters, and laboratory support services for polluted site remediation studies, while other useful indicators can be determined, among others.

“This check laboratory will ensure among other things; Regulatory Compliance, Control Test Intensity Level, Repeatability and Objectivity through the offering of affordable rates for laboratory service irrespective of class or creed,” Adepoju said.

Speaking on behalf of industry experts, President of the Society of Testing Laboratory Analysts of Nigeria (SOLTAN), Dr. Laoye Oluwafemi Oyediran congratulated the state government and LASWARCO management for the feat, saying it would serve the purpose intended.

Oyediran, who is also the Chairman of Governing Council of the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria, FIPAN, said: “The advent of COVID really brought to fore the need for testing. Before then, not many people want to test but if you don’t test you will not know what you are going through and that is exactly why it is necessary to carry out the test in all the various laboratories that we have.

“The beauty of the project we are commissioning today is that we have a mobile laboratory which to me is the first of its kind in Nigeria that is fully equipped to be able to serve and deliver service to the people.”  

Both the Water Check and Mobile Labs are equipped with facilities that can conduct water tests within five minutes, while the state government has assured that other water testing laboratories will be constructed in strategic locations across the state.

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