Stakeholders in the power sector on Wednesday urged federal and state governments to promote advocacy and engage only licensed contractors to ensure safety standards in the power sector.
The stakeholders gave the charge at a two-day National Workshop on Enforcement of Safety Standards in the Power Sector in Asaba, Delta.
The workshop which was jointly organized by the Licensed Electrical Contractors Association of Nigeria (LECAN) and the Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA) has as its theme, “Enforcing Safety Standards in Power Sector: The Role of Stakeholders.
In his opening remarks, LECAN National President, Dr John Etim, said that given the challenges occasioned by fake and substandard electrical materials and the attendant casualties in the power sector, the workshop was timely and the theme apt.
According to Etim, the major objective of the workshop is to save the lives and property of Nigerians occasioned by fire outbreaks due to the use of substandard electrical materials and the engagement of quarks in the power sector.
“This informed the need by stakeholders to enable them to come up with solutions and action plans that are implementable to promote safety standards in the Nigeria electricity supply industry”.
He stressed the need for collaboration among the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), APPA, LECAN, Electrical Cable Companies and the governments
Etim said this would enhance safety standards in the sector and ensure that consumers get value for their money and live on safety.
He called for the full enforcement of NEMSA Act of 2015 which provided criteria for certification of electrical contractors in Nigeria.
He added that government at all levels must resist the temptation of awarding contracts to any contractor not certified by the Agency.
According to Etim, LECAN is a professional association comparable to the Legal Profession, Medical Associations, non-members must not be allowed to practice if must end the carnage, hazards and fire disaster in the power industry.
“LECAN must be encouraged to ensure firm regulation since electricity is a life threatening venture”.
Also, APPA National President, Mr. Princewill Okorie, lamented the level of ignorance that had trailed stakeholders in the sector and urged for government proactive measures to create awareness to stem hazards in the sector.
He noted that if the consumers, the contractors, power companies and the electric cable companies get the right information, it would help to ameliorate the casualties in the sector, hence the workshop.
He noted that production and importation of fake and substandard electrical materials would prone to electrical accidents, death due to fire outbreaks.
He said that this would also result in huge loss of money by both government and private individuals adding that the casualty is often colossal.
According to him, government at all levels should take issues of security and welfare of Nigerians serious in their policies and programmes as provided in Chapter 14(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
“In this context, safety standards in the power sector can be described as standards designed to ensure the safety of products, activities and processes in the nation’s power sector.
“It has become imperative that policies and programmes developed to enhance safe delivery of power through enforcement of approved standards and regulations should be given adequate attention.
Okorie call for the strengthening of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and all associated bodies like LECAN and others to seize, confiscate and destroy any substandard product and to seal up any such company found culpable.
In a goodwill message, Mr Edwin Eyenanotu, Deputy Director, Delta State Ministry of Power and Energy, assured the group of state government support to ensure safety in the sector
He also urged the participants to come up with workable plan of actions.
“This workshop is timely, and if the purpose is harnessed and fully implemented, many lives will be saved and reduce costs doing business.
“As contracts would be given to professional and who will use the right materials instead,” he said.
Also, Otunba Dele Akintola, National Leader, LECAN, urged enforcement by government and law enforcement agencies in the country to rid the counterfeit and substandard products.
The Commissioner of Police, in Delta, CP Muhammed Ari, represented by DCP, Sunday Oke (Admin) tasked LECAN on diligence and strict compliance to quality products and not to cut corners while delivering on contract.
He assured of the command’s commitment to fighting criminality of any kind and that relating to counterfeiting and substandard products whenever alerted.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that participants were drawn from across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Also, lectures were presented on various relevant topical issues relating to safety standards to equip participants with requisite information to function adequately and ensure safety standards.
The lectures include; Enforcing Safety Standards in Power Sector: the Role of Standard Organisation of Nigeria by Mr Onye Okwudili.
The Role of Advocacy in Promoting Safety Standards in the Power Sector by Mr Princewill Okorie and The Role of LECAN in Enforcing Safety Standards in Power Sector by Dr John Etim.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng).