The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu has decried the obstructive attitude of some members of the public towards first responders when disasters or accidents occur in Lagos State. He described this attitude as a major obstacle to prompt and professional response to emergencies in the state.
Dr Oke-Osanyintolu made this known in his Alausa-Ikeja office on Tuesday when he received in audience, a delegation from the Lagos State Chapter of the Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Nigeria, (SCIAN) as part of the Association’s 2022 Spinal Cord Injuries Awareness Month activities. Also on hand were principal officers of LASEMA and some other key officials of the agency.
Dr Oke-Osanyintolu expressed his displeasure at the willingness of some Lagos motorists to quickly give way to hoodlums and other non-State actors on the road but struggle with ambulances, fire fighters and rescue vehicles for right of way. He also cited crowd control as another obstacle to rescue operations, noting that precious time is wasted when professional rescuers are delayed – by the crowd of onlookers and sympathizers – from gaining immediate access to the site of disasters.
The LASEMA boss urged disability organisations to share the data on the location of their members with his agency to ensure that they are appropriately catered for before and after emergencies. He also promised to provide necessary supports to SCIAN in its bid to enlighten members of the public on how best to respond to emergencies and disasters, as well as the importance of giving priority to professionals in such situations.
Earlier in his address, the SCIAN Chairman, Mr Abdulwahab Matepo observed that minor injuries become complicated as a result of unprofessional handling of disaster victims and the absence of immediate medical attention before reaching the hospital. He noted that members of the public usually get emotional at crash and disaster sites and that this attitude does not help victims who require the services of trained hands.
He stated that an immediate medical attention given to a spinal cord injured person could make a huge difference in functionality after hospitalisation. He therefore commended the efforts of LASEMA for providing ambulances in some strategic locations and urged the agency to ensure that the ambulances are well equipped and manned by a full complement of medical professionals at all times.
The SCIAN Chairman also used the occasion to solicit for government support for the completion of its rehabilitation centre in Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos to improve the quality of life of spinal cord injured persons, make them independent and productive, to enable them contribute to the social-economic development of their communities.
The SCIAN delegation included the Women Leader Mrs. Adejoke Afolabi, the Financial Secretary Mr. Samuel Ariyo and the Assistant General Secretary Ms. Oluwatobi Oladeji.