Governor Babatunde Fashola
Lagos State Government has warned event planners and hoteliers operating in the state against non-compliance to safety rules, noting that it would prosecute any event and gathering operators who are not safety conscious.
Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, issued the warning at a recent stakeholders’ safety forum organised by the Lagos Safety Commission (LSC) in Alausa in order to avert disasters in their hotels and event centres.
Ahmed, who addressed a wide range of event planners and hoteliers in the state, linked the need to enforce safety rules and regulations in events and gathers to what he described as a culture of poor compliance.
He, however, explained that the state government was trying “to avoid litigations. But if there is no compliance with the state safety rules and regulations, it means the operators are expecting us to enforce the law.”
“If safety rules are compromised at events and gatherings, the event managers risked losing their properties. The planners will not only lose their properties, but will also lose their business and face prosecution. The time has now come to start regulations. We do not need penalty once there is compliance.
“When the government brings regulations, people normally think it is all about revenue generation. So, we only demand voluntary compliance with safety rules. If some planners remain stubborn, we will prosecute and penalise them. We will not jail the offenders, but will make render community service,” he said.
Also speaking at the forum, Director-General of the commission, Mrs. Dominga Odebunmi, explained the need for every event planner, especially in a mega city like Lagos to prepare for the worst negative event outcome, which he said, could not be over-emphasised with recent happenings locally and internationally.
Odebunmi explained that there “are lots of increasing risk associated in the event industry and therefore, there is need for event planners to make safety the first and last agenda in planning stage, rather than repairs syndrome.
“This forum will aim at exposing event planners and hoteliers to the risks inherent in the event profession. It will serve as an avenue to introduce how to organize and manage events safely, thereby setting the foundation for the appreciation of integrating health, safety and environmental management into event execution.
“Event planning is a serious business and should be the exclusive preserve of the professionals. Event managers have a responsibility to identify potential hazards and ensure that safety risks are removed or reduced. This is a responsibility that must be enforced to guarantee compliance,” the director-general said.