Nigerian Engineers Plan Safety Awareness to Prevent Disasters  

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By Fadekemi Ajakaiye

The Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers has said it would evolve strategic awareness campaign to assist in preventing disasters and improving safety, particularly in respect of fire, flooding and building collapse across the country.
The Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers (NISE), a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), was inaugurated in January 2016, and it is made up of engineering practitioners who are registered with NSE and are active in safety practice.
The pioneer National Chairman of NISE, Engineer Abiodun Oyedepo said the Institution of Safety Engineers would carry out its awareness campaign through state chapters across the country.
According to him, NISE was not formed to compete with other safety bodies and agencies but that it would rather collaborate with all, to better improve safety, as an engineering body.    
Oyedepo said, “Safety is embedded in engineering,” stating that membership of NISE was open to engineers but that those who were not registered engineers but are involved in safety were also welcome in the Institution as associate members. 
The NISE Chairman said people have been wondering if there were no engineers in Nigeria in view of the incessant disasters caused by fire, flooding and by building collapse across the country. 
He said one of the strategies the NISE adopted in sensitising the public to proffer solutions and preventive measures to such disasters, was the leadership’s visit to organisations and agencies that are stakeholders in safety and engineering, such as Chevron, NNPC Retail, NERC, NPA, DPR and the Minister of Labour and Productivity, among others.
Oyedepo said the response to their visits was impressive, “with people expressing appreciation that Nigerian engineers have eventually risen from their slumber.” He added that “we are building a foundation for others to build on, and are setting up chapters in more states of the federation, with the first one recently being inaugurated in Awka, Anambra State. 
He said to drive home its aims and objectives, NISE would hold a conference with the theme ‘Assuring Public Safety in Nigeria: The Roles of Engineers’ from 7 to 10 November 2017 at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos.  
According to the Chairman of the NISE Conference Planning Committee, Engineer Seun Faluyi, “rainfall is not avoidable but that flooding is preventable.  Engineers know what to do if you want to prevent flooding even where there is plenty of rainfall.”
Faluyi said the same goes for building collapse. “Where you design buildings and factor in safety during the construction, collapses can be prevented.” He added that “one is better assured of safety when qualified engineers are actively involved.
NISE will work in collaboration with regulatory agencies and the Institution will also hold capacity development programmes along with regulatory agencies to address building collapse.”
He said regulatory bodies were generally not sufficiently staffed and that the Institution was willing to help.
Secretary to the Planning Committee, Engineer Kayode Fowode said housing construction supervisors  in every state should take proper measures, during construction, to prevent building collapse.
Fowode said though the Lagos State Safety Commission requests for engineers to sign-off on building drawings, there would also be training courses organised for registered builders in the state to identify problems during construction so as to address them promptly to prevent danger.
Engineer Oluwafemi Ogunseitan a member of the Conference Planning Committee stated that in the entire value chain, from design to construction on site, NISE would support other regulatory bodies, adding that NISE would ensure robust safety checks through capacity building and creation of necessary standards.