Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Increasing Cases Of Mass Murder: Security Operatives Cry Out

In recent times, several disasters have been recorded in different parts of the country, ranging from buildings collapse, fire outbreak, flooding, plane crash and detonation of Improvised Explosive Devices IEDs, which have resulted in serious casualties.
A typical example is the Kano bomb blast of January 2012 which claimed the life of Channels TV reporter, 31-year-old Enenchie Akogwu, who was on official assignment. Another example is the December 25, 2011 bomb blast at a Catholic Church in Bauchi State which claimed many lives, including children.
The culprit in most cases were members of the dreaded Islamic extremist sect popularly called Boko Haram who delight in using the IEDs in their orgy of mass killing of innocent Nigerians. Research has it that components of IEDs are readily available and can be easily packed inside small containers which makes detection difficult.
They can be hidden in toys or cans and planted in strategic places like meeting venues, churches, town halls, hotels, cinema houses, motor parks or garages, while the executioners stay at a safe distance to detonate the object without being hurt.
To pre-empt such acts of mass murder,the South-West zone of National Emergency Management Authority NEMA, recently gathered security operatives and emergency bodies together to brainstorm on appropriate response at  the scene of disasters especially where IEDs are involved.
The event which took place simultaneously in Lagos and Ogun drew participants from the Nigerian Navy, the Nigeria Police Force, the Airforce,the Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Red Cross, Nigeria Security and Civil defence Corps, federal and state fire services and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agencies, to mention just a few.
According to NEMA’s South-West coordinator, Iyiola Akande, disaster in Nigeria has reached an alarming level, saying this disturbing reality  prompted the workshop whic was designed to share and harness experiences from stakeholders on how they have been responding to various disasters, including mass casualty with a view to improving response mechanism. Also, it was used to address major challenges faced in the field and proffer solution.
Fire Officer 1 of the Lagos State Fire Services, Olukotun Afeez, called for mutual understanding among stakeholders, adding: ‘’Safety of lives should be paramount at the scene of disasters; so overlapping of duties must be handled with maturity. Superiority and rivalry among us has posed a major challenge to the smooth operation at the scene of a disaster. ‘’
Head of Operation, Ikeja Unit Command of FRSC, Abdulahi Mohammed, called for collaboration of stakeholders at the scene of a disaster. ‘’We need the support of one another, especially in crowd control without which we shall find it difficult to rescue victims,’’ he said and urged the general public to call the helpline 122 in case of road accidents.
Head of Operation Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, who represented his boss, called for identification of local disaster management involving local government chairmen and community development associations and committees before the arrival of emergency bodies at emergency scenes.
Also contributing, Chief Maritime Safety Officer Search and Rescue, NIMASA, Olaniyan Taiwo said his organisationNIMASA does not have the  “does not have the wherewithal to handle disaster alone; so, we work in synergy with other emergency bodies like NEMA, LASEMA and oil companies”.
Brigadier General A. Oyebade of the Nigerian Army Cantonment Ikeja, urged the general public to send text messages to 08160251041 or 08055002266 in case of IEDs and similar occurrences.
NEMA South-West Information Officer, Ibrahim Farinloye, said within the past few years, the agency has been able to prevent cases that would have led to mass casualties or fatal incidents’’.