By Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare
In line with efforts to create strategic ways to build indigenous capacities and ensure both industrial and public safety in Nigeria, the Oyo State Government has been urged to create an agency; the Oyo State Safety Commission to render decisions on the protection of the people and society.
The Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers (NISafetyE); a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, made the call in Ibadan on Thursday during the inauguration of the Oyo State chapter of NISafetyE and the investiture of Oladayo Olufemi Awodele was the pioneer state chairman.
Speaking at the event held at the International Conference Centre, UI, the national chairman of NISafetyE, Engr Akaninyene Edet Ekong called on Governor Seyi Makinde to consider the importance of public safety and put in place a safety commission to aid the efforts of NISafetyE in ensuring industrial and public safety in Oyo state.
He further called on engineers to take ownership of public safety, health and welfare by always making themselves heard when something looks like it might not be safe even when the probability of failure is small.
“The expectation is that as engineers, we should give sound advice and expert opinions to decision makers. When a decision is made that flies in the face of public safety, engineers must challenge that decision, ” Ekong says, emphasising the words of Ogun Deputy Governor, Engr Noimot Salako-Oyedele when she said, “when you are not on the table, you are on the menu.”
He added that as safety engineers, they will advocate more for governments at all levels to promote and enforce compliance to safety standards in line with ILO C155 and urged members not to relent in their efforts as engineering failures and disasters will continue if professional engineers are not used.
On his part, the new chairman, Engr Oladayo Olufemi Awodele stated that various disasters across the country resulting in loss of life and property gave rise to the safety division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, adding that the solution to such disasters can only be proffered by engineers.
According to him, “as engineers practising and living in the state, we have seen the tremendous impact that Nigerian engineers and the institution can have and already poised to have in public safety concerns in Oyo State; fire incidences in our markets, flooding of major streams and rivers, traffic congestion, pollution etc
“We want a situation where all of us will change our social behaviour towards ensuring our society is safe for all. We want to make Oyo state safe for ourselves, our children band future generations using our skills and professional training,” he said.
In his keynote address titled Safety engineering: A need for sustainable engineering practice in Nigeria, the Rector of The Polytechnic Ibadan, Prof. Kazeem Adekunle Adebiyi stated that it is glaring that in achieving effective sustainable engineering practice, safety engineering is critical, calling on all engineers to come together and promote safety everywhere to build the culture and make the environment safe.
He added that safety is the bedrock of development and sustainable engineering practice can only be effectively achieved with safety engineering.
He emphasised that safety is a core department that should not be submerged under any other department as common in society.