The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) on Wednesday said it faced a lot of challenges while responding to emergencies and disasters in the state.
The Director General (DG), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, disclosed this while speaking at the quarterly stakeholders meeting held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Lagos.
It was reported that the stakeholders meeting, with the theme: ‘Managing Recent Challenges in Disaster Management’, was aimed at bringing everyone together to make LASEMA better.
Oke-Osanyintolu said the meeting could not have come at a better time than now, when there was work going on to improve synergy in the areas of operational activities, collaboration and sharing of information.
“This is towards effective and efficient emergency and disaster management in the state.
“The theme is intended to provide us with workable strategies to renew the confidence in our collective ability and responsibility to rise up to any emergency and disaster challenge in the state.
“We face a lot of challenges daily in responding to emergency and disaster, it therefore suffices to say that this meeting will afford us an opportunity of in-depth review and plan of various stakeholders.
“This meeting will also afford us to understand our collective roles in managing recent challenges in disaster management,” he said.
The DG said that disasters by nature were unforeseen and sudden, which explained why the blows inflicted by them are usually deadly and devastating.
“This is why we urgently need to achieve a sustainable disaster risk reduction,” he said.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that LASEMA, as an agency, had performed creditably well in managing emergencies and disasters with the active collaboration of all the stakeholders since its establishment.
“Its impact has been positively felt during the incidents of flooding, collapsed buildings, fire outbreaks, road accidents, gas explosions, and pipeline vandalism, among others.
“Let’s use this medium to consult among ourselves as we take steps to remove all bottlenecks that may impede improved delivery of our services,”he said.
In his keynote address, the Commissioner for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Mr Tayo Martins, commended LASEMA for managing disasters in the state.
“Indeed, it has been a most challenging year in disaster risk management for Lagos State, a situation exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a highly infectious disease that has sent many to early graves, but brought to a quick halt by the hard working professionals in the service of Lagos State Government.
“The Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Safety Commission and LASEMA have all excelled in the discharge of their primary responsibilities.
“They have also excelled in other additional roles of providing support and complementing the efforts of the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu,” he said.
Martins said that Lagos State had been doing its best to save lives and property of residents in the state.
“However, experience has proven that emergency and disaster management and response alone is not sufficient.
“It is critical that the disaster response mechanisms are inculcated at the grassroots level and institutionalised in Lagos State as a whole.
“LASEMA has excelled by raising its bar of performance.
“This is a highly commendable operational approach of establishing Local Emergency Management Committees across the state to constitute a value-driven approach to Emergency and Disaster Risk Management from the grassroots,” he said.
He said the soon-to-be inaugurated LASEMA Epe base underscored the importance given to the pre-emptive approach of Lagos as a state.
“The base will facilitate LASEMA’s operations into all nooks and crannies of the state in Epe axis, where its services would be needed to bring succour and relief to areas affected by disasters.
“The Ministry of Special Duties on its part will continue to enable a conducive environment that will foster harmonious inter-agency operations within the state,” he said.
Present at the stakeholders meeting were Lagos Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Olusegun Ogungbemide, Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, among other stakeholders.