After they(MEND) threatened to blow up third mainland bridge a couple of weeks ago, I began giving thought to the capacity/level of preparedness of the Fatherland to prevent and handle disaster. Considering that as far as Natural disasters are concerned, Nigeria could very well say it is much blessed, the question still remains: what if? The more I think about it, the more I fear and pray that may God forbid bad things from happening. More discussion about the news above is here.
The question is: are we prepared for disasters?
The answer is: No
The third mainland bridge, Lagos state which is always choked up in traffic at major hours: 8am-10am, 5pm-8pm is definitely a prime target for any extremist ‘please-give-us-your-ears’ group of people.
Countries around the world are preparing for disasters(natural, terrorist, technological, etc.,) in every way imaginable, but nothing seems to be happening in and with the Nigerian government. If we are even to play down the threats of terrorist-wannabe’s, and focus on Natural disasters, do we have the technology in place to forecast, predict, such disasters? Do we have an early warning system to send out an alarm at a safe escape-for-your-life time-interval? I am still wondering if Nigeria can handle it.
Using Lagos state as a test-bed, I wonder how many boats can be mobilized underneath the third mainland for rescue operations? How many trained, physically fit and able scuba-divers are available, and ready, on call? How many heli-birds would be on standby to give the world a minute-by-minute coverage, and lift off survivors? How many are medical personnel that could rescue lives? The questions keep going on and on and on.
Two weeks ago, a Fuel Tanker exploded in the vicinity of the National Stadium. full-story here
“Our reporters who were at the scene of the disaster said it was a gory sight as dead bodies roasted alive were seen on the road, while some of the victims who were unable to escape from their vehicles were burnt to ashes.”
“One hour after the incident occurred, neither the police nor men of the fire service came to the scene even though their offices are located about 200 metres away.“
I remember, I was on my bed, listening to the radio, and about to drift off into a good night rest, when I heard the news about this fiery furnace tanker. In a country where everyone is practically on his own, where our leaders have no vision for the future, where technological development is a function of ‘how much I can earn from it‘, I really wonder what the future holds.
“It will be interesting to ask what contigency plans both the Federal and the States government of Nigeria have in place for the citizens, in the wake of any serious natural disaster such as wiidfire, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, mudslides, heavy floods, and tornados? ” full story here
Lets put the word ‘serious’ into our pocket, the painful truth is: Nigeria has no contigency plans for its citizens in the wake of any disaster. If I remember right, it was during the past elections when I saw a lady wearing a Nigerian Red Cross vest. It was then, it dawned on me that Nigeria even has a red-cross society, but yet, do we know where they are? do we see them in emergency situations? are they properly equipped to respond to Natural disasters? are people properly informed on what to do where, when, how? Kindly note that the most recent disaster news on the Nigerian Red Cross webpage is dated 13th June, 2006 – talk about information dissemination. These, and more questions have to be answered by our well and able government.
Two suggestions mainly:
1) that our Telecommunication Companies can come to our rescue by providing national-interconnecting-hot-numbers through which disaster messages can be broadcasted(text messaged) free of charge, at least to reach those near or far.
2) It would also be nice to see the Nigerian Police trained to be informed about, and to respond to disasters.