• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Gov Sanwo-Olu should investigate who killed Dr. Vwaere

Sanwo-Olu hails A/Court’s affirmation of his election victory

No matter the outcome of the report of the committee that the Lagos State Government gathered to investigate the death of Dr. Diaso Vwaere at the General Hospital, Lagos, nothing will compensate for the finality of death.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu should be investigating who killed Dr. Vwaere. Not an accident. Some would called it murder from intentional negligence. If a VIP had died in that lift, it would be deemed an assassination. What killed Vwaere was more than an accident. An accident is unintentional and unexpected. This case is different.

The “it’s well” community, that righteously religious crowd that ascribes every evil it supports to the Almighty, will add her gruesome death to the Almighty’s will.

It is not well for the lift which finally collapsed and killed her to have been bad since 2018. Workers and visitors to the facility gave that damning information which has not been refuted. The Almighty’s will was not for public funds to be provided for the maintenance of the facility and its expenditure would exclude a faulty lift that was in daily use for five years after it should have been shut down if it could not be repaired.

Who stopped an appropriate official from switching off the bad lift? No, the Almighty does not abbreviate our “safety professionals” or anyone from doing good, common good. The Almighty does not kick against the appropriation of funds and fairness in the management of His creations.

A lift that was meant for eight people weighing 630kg went down with gravitational velocity of “10 metres per second, per second” from the 10th floor shattering the young doctor to death only two weeks to the end of her housemanship in an endangered facility meant to save lives.

Being in danger in a health facility that was one of the State’s pride meant nothing to those responsible for running the hospital over the years. Rescue was late, some say over an hour. There was no blood for the “emergency”, no running water. All these for a doctor in the same hospital. She died.

She cannot be accused of being over-weight to have exceeded the 630kg limit the lift could bear. The lift was not over-loaded. She had used it earlier and so had others who testified to employing their hands to close the lift on certain floors or being trapped in it.

Nobody cared because the Governor does not use the lift. Were Governor Sanwo-Olu to visit to the General Hospital, the lift would be fixed in days unless he would not use it. That is who we are.

Five years of a faulty lift means that for the entirety of Sanwo-Olu’s first term, the lift was prostrated in the centre of excellence. It is even possible that its maintenance was mooted and muted. Let me not speculate that the funds for its maintenance was mis-applied.

“An inquiry by a team of officials from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Lagos State Safety Commission, and certified Lift and Vertical Transportation Equipment experts has commenced.

“The Lagos State Government will ensure that anyone found negligent by the report of the inquiry will face appropriate sanctions,” the State Ministry of Information announced on Wednesday, hours after Vwaere died.

Imagine that some of those whose negligence killed the young woman could be investigating it. Do we expect these experts to indict themselves or their colleagues?

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Give it to Lagos. It has an armada of professionals in its public service. Most of these professionals lug their titles around, live at the expense of the public, and do practically nothing.

Where were they in five years of a faulty lift operating at the General Hospital, Lagos Island, not a remote location? How many faulty lifts are in use in the State?

Lagos is not better than my State without a 10-storeyed general hospital or a parade of professionals by name. In both cases the public is cheated. We only respond to “embarrassing” deaths with fleeting interest. We explain them if they have political mileage or contract value.

Governor Sanwo-Olu commiserated with the deceased’s family. His tweet is not clear on what is to be investigated.

“In light of this tragedy, I have taken immediate action to initiate a thorough investigation into the cause of the mechanical failure,” the Governor’s statement via @jidesanwoolu on X (formerly known as Twitter), read.

Will the investigation be on the tragedy or “the cause of the mechanical failure”? Neither is helpful.

The negligence in the ill-maintenance of the “mechanical device” is obvious. There is no need for a drivel on the consequences, particularly the death.

If Vwaere did not die the lift would have continued its dangerous service until maybe a day it would have killed more people. It is not as if our lives, numbered or not, are important.

Perhaps, lives are important if they are of the President, Governors, legislators, and the like. No one else matters which explains the Senate President Godswill Akpabio leading the ricocheting laughter that rounded the Senate chambers when he mocked us thus, “Let the poor breathe”. Of course, he is rich!

Lagos has just awarded contracts for the burial of 103 unidentified bodies that it said died about the time of the EndSARS protests. Such high number of people died within a contested period of body counts and there are no investigations about what killed them. Better still who killed them.

News of Vwaere’s death came to some of us during the 10th anniversary lecture of Just Friends Club of Nigeria where Prof Chidi Odinkalu spoke on Re-setting Nigeria, in a delivery that ranged through citizenship, indigeneship, settlers, corruption, elections, leadership challenges, and the options available to Nigerians.

One of his verdicts, not conclusion, was that “Most of Nigeria’s crises with corruption, impunity, mal-governance and resulting instability come down to this: as a people, we cannot count honestly, and our public institutions and professionals have encouraged a system in which there are no consequences for dishonest counting and accounting”. Would Vwaere’s killing suffer the same fate? It would, once the panel calls it an “avoidable accident” whereas it is murder by intentional negligence. Therein lie the dangers of the “dishonest counting and accounting” on which Nigeria thrives.


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.Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues