The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) have partnered to further enhance the safety and preservation of critical evidence at crash sites in case of serious incidents and accidents in all modes of transportation.
To ensure a seamless partnership, both agencies have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would further foster their performance.
NSIB has also volunteered to train the over 200 staff of LASEMA in accident management.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony held at the LASEMA office in Lagos over the weekend, Engr. Akin Olateru, the Director-General, NSIB, said that it was important for agencies and organisations to partner in the interest of the country.
Olateru explained that NSIB was not the first responder in case of an accident, but said it was necessary for the agency to partner with first responders like LASEMA, police, the military, and other critical organisations.
He explained that the partnership with LASEMA would further aid the accuracy of accident investigation and prevent the recurrence of such.
He lamented that the bureau had in the past six years made attempts to partner with some government agencies, but failed to achieve this purpose and lauded the management of LASEMA for agreeing to the MoU within five months it was first proposed.
The NSIB boss declared that the new NSIB Act 2022, empowers it to investigate serious incidents and accidents in all modes of transportation with the aim of boosting safety.
He said: “We had an initial meeting in March this year, which gave birth to this MoU that we are signing today. We have been pursuing some orgnisations in the last six years and nothing positive has come out of it. Whatever MoU we sign with organisations, it’s for the interest of the nation.
“We are not the first responder in case of an accident; we are investigators. The first responders need to know their roles and we need to know ours, too.
“We are happy to train the staff of agencies. This is necessary for them to know what we do and how we go about them. Evidence needs to be preserved at crash sites. Partnering with an agency like LASEMA is good for our country. Lagos State is the size of four to five in Europe.
“We will be deceiving ourselves when we say there will not be disasters. There will be disasters, but we need to partner for it and we need to reduce the impact of the disasters.”
Olateru also said that the technical staff of LASEMA would be trained by the Southern California Safety Institute of the United States of America (USA).
There are over 2000 staff in LASEMA, but Olateru said the staff would be trained in batches. The first batch would be trained before the end of this month.
Earlier, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the Permanent Secretary of LASEMA, said that the authority had signed MoUs with various organisations, including 25 United Nations agencies and a higher institution in the state.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that the MoU was to further assure Lagosians that the agency would always respond swiftly to any emergency management.
He explained that the State Government in recent years, had expended billions of naira to equip the agency with the procurement of state-of-the-art ambulance vehicles and engagement and training of qualified personnel to manage disasters in the state.
He added: “We also say that disaster management is the responsibility of everyone. We are signing this MoU with NSIB to take care of the airspace in case of an emergency or disaster.
“When the unfortunate aircraft accident happened earlier in the week, we worked together with the officials of NSIB at the crash site and our effort ensured that there was no mortality in the accident.”
The highlight of the event was the signing of the MoU by the chief executive officers of the two organisations.