Last week Friday on why back from Heritage Mall in Dugbe, I got a first hand experience of how bad things have become for Oyo State Fire Service.
We went through the state Secretariat to the Governor’s House and finally we drove pass the Ibadan Civic Center and emerged at Idi Ape. While at the state Secretariat, we heard the blaring sirens of a fire fighting vehicle belonging to the state government. We paved way for it and I was shocked to hear it’s siren blaring several cars behind us when we got to Idi Ape. How come? I asked. Apparently it found its way to the back.
My friend couldn’t help but ask about the fate of the property that is on fire. When we got to Idi Ape we saw where the firemen were heading to. It was a burning car but that had stopped burning before the fire service officers arrived.
So the officers loitered around and created some drama and distractions over fire that had stopped burning.
So I wasn’t surprised when I heard about the inferno at Molete that killed so many people and destroyed propertied worth millions.
It is interesting to note that both past and present governments in Oyo state are investing a lot in the fire service in terms of equipment and machinery procurement but the service is still under performing. A perfect example was the recent fire disaster at Alesinloye market. The fire raged for more than 12 hours yet the officers were unable to quench it.
The story is the same for ambulance services in the state. Sirens will blare for hours yet very few people will give way. Lives are lost severally en route to the hospital.
When people don’t give way for firemen and ambulance, I often ask why people could be so heartless. But when I realise the consistent abuse of the siren in Ibadan, I get the picture of why people don’t really care.
I remember seeing an ambulance that belong to Egbeda local government at Iwo Road. The driver was blaring siren although on close observation I saw no patient was being treated and it was only transporting tubers of yams and other items for a traditional wedding.
Policemen do it when they are approaching a traffic officer – stopped spot. Escorts too regularly abuse the siren in addition to drivers of politicians’ spouses and children.
Only military officers respect the siren.
Interestingly, several civilian cars in Ibadan are also fitted with sirens. Everyone is blaring. They are all in a hurry.
Since there’s no way to really identify which siren to be taken seriously, the general public no longer play active roles in clearing the way leaving the helpless patients and property owners to God to protect and secure.
Urgent affirmative actions are needed on the use of sirens in Oyo state. Also, emergency routes should be created strictly for emergency workers but extreme caution should be taken to prevent abuse.
I would have advocated for a helicopter for emergency services but we both know it would be easily abused by those in charge.