By Christopher Oji
Over 950 people were killed and 2,400 injured as a result of electric surge-induced fire at construction sites between 2011 and 2014 in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the National Fire Protection Association West Africa (NFPAWA).
The group blamed the spate of fire outbreaks and other disasters on poor standardisation and compliance.
NFPAWA stated this at a press conference over the weekend in Lagos, with emphasis that foreign investors were being discouraged from investing in Nigeria as a result of non-compliance in operational risk management in life, fire safety and security.
The group’s vice president, Mr. Ridand Ngong, called on the government to embrace strict enforcement of the National Electric Code (NEC) in order to reduce the number of death and injuries caused by preventive infernos.
Ngog described all the major expressways constructed across the country as below average, saying provisions were not made for emergency operations.
He also noted that most electrical works in the country, whether at the design, installation and inspection stage, do not follow laid down standards and principles.
He frowned at the engagement of uncertified, incompetent electricians to carry out electrical repairs in homes, offices and other facilities, just as he condemned the design of many high-rise buildings.
He said: “These are part of the reasons we are planning a conference in collaboration with The Guardian Newspapers for May. It would address safety in the electrical sector, with a focus on the standards and benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, inspection and maintenance.”
He cited data from the Nigeria Consumer Product Safety Commission indicating that 950 persons were killed and 2,400 injured as a result electricity-induced fire outbreaks at construction sites between 2011 and 2014, adding that it was time the country got things right.
On the forthcoming conference, the group’s Programme Director, Mrs. Antonia Beri, said their aim was to establish a governance culture at all levels in public and private life through active championing of operational risk management.
She said: “Our in depth understanding of the requirement for Africa’s economic growth drives our ambition to improve standardisation, benchmarking, regulations and human capacity development in the risk management field. The organisation seeks to advance the highest standards of regulation and education by promoting best practices in compliance to local and international codes, by accredited facilitators with a minimum of 25 years of experience”.