Expert urges government to prioritise public safety

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A safety expert, Julius Ugwala, has called on the Federal Government to prioritise public safety by enhancing public awareness across various sectors of the economy.

Ugwala, who doubles as Nigeria’s Chief Diving Inspector ( Elect), made this call during a recent interview on Maritime TV on the topic, ‘Prioritising Public Safety.’

According to him, most of the disasters that led to the loss of lives and properties in Nigeria could be avoided.

“Public safety is essential to everyone irrespective of your place of work including oil sector, as well as other aspects of shipping. It is also essential at home. We should all endeavour to be careful because one person’s mistake could endanger a great number of people,” Ugwala said.

Citing an example, he described the frequent falling of empty containers on roads as a major public safety challenge yet to be addressed by the government.

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“When you look at trucks laden with containers traversing the country, you will find out that there is a need to improve the operations of truckers with regards to how they convey the containers. There is a need to improve the safety measures because such containers have killed innocent citizens in their vehicles and pedestrians. These accidents occur almost daily in port cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt, yet there is no procedure to curb them, even though they are preventable,” he said.

Ugwala frowned at the fact that Nigeria doesn’t have a programme to check this menace, adding that there is no measure to safeguard Nigerian citizens.

Noting that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has stipulated standards for trucks doing business at the ports, he called for serious enforcement of those standards.

According to him, the #ENDSARS protest which was hijacked by hoodlums was another example of a lack of preventive measures for public safety in the country.

“Public safety cuts across board, from the police to the oil and gas sector to other aspects of leadership. The recent development where we saw masses going through a small door to access Covid-19 palliatives also showed another dimension of threat to public safety. People died during the stampede yet others were climbing dead bodies just to access the food items. It’s high time we became more proactive in this country and think ahead as we develop policies, organise the work environment as well as our homes in a way that eliminates the threat to public safety,” he added.

Ugwala said digitalisation should also be exploited to improve public safety with regards to safeguarding crucial documents and data.