By Fabian Ekeruche
Hon. Mobolaji Ogunlende, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Government on Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations says that state is setting the pace for disaster management in the country.
Ogunlende stated this at a pre-event news conference to showcase a three- day event to put together by the ministry to demonstrate the impact of the government in changing the narratives on disaster management in the country.
According to him, the series of events will culminate in the graduation of about 435 fire service men, whose combined efforts and impact, will usher in effective fire service rescue and management delivery in the state.
The series of events will commence on Oct. 25 and end on Oct. 27 at various locations across the state.
“The Day one of the event will be a symposium, where experts in emergency matters will gather to appraise the emergency activities of the State, identify challenges and also proffer a better way to manage and respond to emergency issues in every part of the State.
“The Day two and last day of the three-day event will witness the commissioning of some upgraded and newly constructed fire stations in different parts of the State.
“It will also witness the commissioning and handing over of newly acquired 62 fire service trucks procured by this administration and the unveiling of 435 newly recruited fire service men,” Ogunlende said.
The special adviser said that the 62 new fire service trucks were procured by the government to increase the fleet of the firefighting trucks and also to enhance the capacity of fire officers to swiftly respond to emergencies.
He noted that the Governor recently granted approval for the recruitment of over 500 additional fire fighters as a way of increasing manpower and personnel of the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service.
“These officers that are ready for deployment into various stations will also boost the staff strength of the first responders in the State and also strengthen the capacity of our officers in responding to fire incidents.
“The Governor has upgraded the Fire Service from a department status to a full-fledged Agency and subsequently confirmed the appointment of its pioneer head, Mrs. Margaret Adeseye, as the first female director of the Agency since its inception.
Ogunlende said that the rehabilitation/construction of the new fire stations and the procurement of firefighting trucks had cost the government huge resources.
He said that the gesture affirmed the genuine commitment and premium placed on lives and property of residents of the state by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s led administration.
The SA said that the governor had also complemented the newly acquired trucks with a fuel dump for ease of work.
“I must emphasize that these efforts resonates with the Road Map and Master Plan designed in 2020 and 2021 respectively to scale up emergency response across the State.
“And also to provide a template for the implementation of programmes, plans and policies as it relates to emergency issues in Lagos State.
“The road maps have been developed for all the three agencies under the supervision of the ministry, namely: Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, LSF&RS and Lagos State Safety Commission, LSSC.
“While the roadmaps for LASEMA and LSF&RS are already operational, that of the Safety Commission is currently being perfected.
“For LASEMA and Fire Service, I can boldly say that the content of the road maps which terminates next year have been implemented up to 75 per cent as we speak.
“As a matter of fact, we have started witnessing the benefits; some of which we are celebrating today.
” It is my firm belief that with these roadmaps in place, one of the major challenges faced by first responders during emergencies which, is response time, is gradually being addressed and a great improvement is being experienced.
“For LASEMA, I can absolutely affirm that the agency is living up to its expectation because disaster management in the 21st century needs a more concise plan and approach as done in more advanced climes,” Ogunlende said.
The special adviser said that the government is poised to position LASEMA to adequately handle emergencies of the 21st century occasioned by climate change.
Ogunlende expressed appreciation to Sanwo-Olu for being attentive to the plight of the citizens and for prioritizing issues of emergency response in the state.
Also speaking Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyitolu, the Permanent Secretary, LASEMA, said that LASEMA had worked hard to reduce the emergency response time in the state to ten minutes.
Oke-Osanyitolu appealed to Lagos residents, especially those erecting street gates not to obstruct emergency responders in the discharge of their duties.
Mrs Margaret Adeseye, Director Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, said that the service had already embarked on the upgrading and rebuilding of its fire stations across the state.
Adeseye appealed to Lagos residents to always give access to fire service men in the discharge of their duties.
She said that the creation of four new fire service stations across the state and the upgrading of existing ones were to make the service deliver effectively on their mandate in record time.