By Victory Bernard
The Federal Ministry of Water Resources has trained laboratory analysts in the ministry on various safety tips to avert disasters in water bodies like rivers and dams.
The programme themed, “A3-Day Basic Training on Water Safety in River and Dams” was organised by the Department of Water Quality Control and Sanitation in conjunction with Seagate Global Service Ltd and held at the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) building, Agidingbi, Lagos between July 11 and 13.
The training had in attendance many laboratory analysts and other participants drawn from different stations across Nigeria.
The Project Coordinator, Iwuh Nama, said that the programme was organised to provide the laboratory analysts, who are saddled with the responsibilities of collecting water samples from various locations in Nigeria, with adequate knowledge on how to handle safety situations surrounding the water bodies.
She disclosed that there was inadequate knowledge of water by most of the acclaimed aqua-workers, noting that the government needed to give more attention to the water sector.
Nama said, “The participants were workers from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. Most don’t have experience of water.
“Some don’t know how to swim and they have this phobia for water and some people that work in that kind of organisation are supposed to be very conversant with water.
“They are technicians that go to collect samples from seas, dams and rivers. So the training actually came at a good time. There should be a repeat of it so that they will be more conversant with water. The government is not giving water safety enough attention. They need more of it.”
Noting the importance of the training, the Facilitator and Training Consultant, Dr Wilson Arikpo, said that appropriate knowledge and effective training is one of the antidotes to negative occurrences at sea and is essential to overcoming hydrophobia, which is the fear associated with water.
He said, “We interact with water every day when we drink, take our bath, etc. Yet when it comes to a body of water, people fret because they lack the requisite knowledge on survival techniques in water; be it ashore or offshore.
“Some people have drowned in rather avoidable circumstances owing mostly to hydrophobia even when provided with Personal Floatation Device – PFD (i.e. life jackets); and this is a major challenge.
“Incidences of lives lost to the peril of the sea and to floods are on the rise again within and without our territories; locally and internationally, despite the efforts of governments; so more needs to be done to impart knowledge.”
Other photos from the training…
He went further to encourage Nigerians to be hydrophilic, “as water has no enemy” but could be a peril when ignorance is allowed to rule their minds and requisite training is taken for granted.
The programme featured basic first aid techniques, how to conquer the fear of water, swimming skills, medical screening, intensive classroom sessions, Water Safety and Rescue drills, among others.
Deputy Director, Water Quality, FMWR, Mr Habu Jamilu, said the training was organised to provide necessary skills for the Water Quality Analysts to enable them to survive and exit from water body in case of any emergency.
He said, “Drowning accidents could happen not only in rivers and dams but also in and around homes. Swimming is an important means of surviving in water.”
Stating the benefits participants gained from the programme, he said, “The participants now have confidence in making use of the life jackets during the sampling exercise.
“The participants have been able to overcome the phobia for water.
“The participants were able to acquire some swimming skills which has increased their confidence in and around water bodies.”
A Scientific Officer in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Hajia Salamatu Yusuf, who was a participant, said that the purpose of the programme was to educate them on how to rescue themselves or others in danger in or around open water bodies.
Stating the safety requirements needed around water bodies, she said, “Swimming-rescue simulation; excursion to the beach to interact with water; learn how to work on rivers and dams in a safe way; always use your life jacket around or on rivers and dams; take all the precautionary measures around open water bodies.
“Many people working around rivers do not have the basic skills for safety and rescue,” she added.
Present during the training was Mr Emmanuel Awe, the Director, Water Quality Control & Sanitation; Mr Habu Jamilu, Deputy Director, Water Quality Control; and Mrs Ekaro Comfort Chukwumuebobo, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources.