The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has described the crisis rocking the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON) as “unfortunate and deterring the institute’s progress,” calling on all concerned parties to sheath their swords to enable the institute forge ahead as one united body.
The Director, Occupational Safety and Health Department, Dr (Mrs.) Ifeoma Igweze-Anyanwataku made this known on behalf of the ministry at the Annual General Meeting of the Dr Nnamdi Ilodiuba-led faction which held at ISPON National Secretariat, Ikotun, Lagos on October 28.
Igweze-Anyanwataku said the ministry saw ISPON as a critical stakeholder in advancing occupational safety and health practice in the country and was therefore worried by the crisis.
She said, “We Federal Ministry of Labour see ISPON as a critical stakeholder in issues and matters relating to occupational safety and health in Nigeria.
“This underscores the active role the institute plays in collaborating with the ministry towards achieving the overall objective of creating a conducive, safe and healthy work environment for workers, for growth, development and sustainability of businesses in Nigeria.
“In this regard, the current crisis that has hitherto rocked the institute thereby deterring the progress of the institute has been considered rather unfortunate and I therefore implore all parties to toe the path of peace and forge ahead in unity as one strong, united force.”
Furthermore, Igweze-Anyanwataku said that the Buhari administration viewed decent employment as a strong catalyst of national development and urged the institute not to relent in its all-important task of training safety professionals that will help achieve a decent, safe and healthy workplace.
She added, “One of the pillars of the change agenda of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is the creation of decent employment in order to ensure economic growth and national development.
“When the government talks about decent employment, it is one that is consistent with not only the fundamental principles and rights at work that delivers a fair income, delivers social protection or guarantees social dialogue, but also very importantly the one that guarantees that safety and health of persons at work is not endangered or abused.
“It is in the regard that I urge the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria to continue to forge ahead in your vital role in capacity building and training of safety professionals as your contribution towards promoting and moving occupational safety and health to the next level in Nigeria.”
The OSH Director, who was invested as a Fellow of the institute at the event alongside a few others, expressed her gratitude to the governing board for the honour, promising to use her newly acquired rank to move the institute forward.
“I also congratulate my fellow awardees and hope that you also see today’s recognition as a call to redouble your commitment and contribution to the development of the institute,” she added.
Earlier, the factional President of the institute, Dr Nnamdi Ilodiuba said that the institute remained committed to its statutory responsibility of regulating safety management in the country and would continue to ensure that safety professionals certified by the institute discharge their responsibilities responsibly.
Ilodiuba also lauded the founding fathers of the institute for their selflessness and commitment to seeing a safer and healthier workplace in Nigeria.
He said, “Thirty seven years ago, precisely in 1980, a group of public-spirited Nigerians concerned about the deteriorating safety standards and the dismal level of attention paid to safety issues in this country and motivated by the urge to set things right, came up with the idea of forming a body to propagate, advocate and promote the practice and culture of safety in Nigeria…
“(The institute) has over the years transformed from a body concerned with dissemination of safety information to one devoted to inculcating safety knowledge and practice and now to a statutory body responsible for training and certification of professionals in the various aspects of safety in Nigeria, in addition to the traditional roles of safety information dissemination and advocacy.
“The thrust of the Institute’s activities is risk reduction in industries and other workplaces and the strategy is training and human development.
“All these are encapsulated in the five simple words of the Institute’s motto: ‘In the Service of Man.’”
Recalling some achievements of the institute under his leadership, Ilodiuba expressed satisfaction for the support given to his administration by the governing board and members of the institute.
“I express my sincere and unreserved appreciation to all my colleagues and compatriots for their remarkable sense of duty and commitment to our noble cause.
“It is a selfless service that we have avowed our lives and energies to and we must remain dedicated and committed to that cause to the end,” he stated.