By ibrahima yakubu
As the harmattan season fully commences, Nigerians have been advised to take precautionary measures against the effects of the harmattan, cold-related diseases and bush burning, in order to avoid fire outbreaks in both in rural and urban places.
The registrar Africa institutes of waste management and environmental studies in Nigeria Mr Ahmed Lateef Tayo made the call in a statement made available to the press on Friday 4th November 2022 ,as he cautioned Nigerians to be wary of possible fire outbreaks during this year’s harmattan period in view of the change of weather to increased wind and other harmattan environmental-related factors and ecological challenges .
According to him, the harmattan season has always been associated with high risk of fire outbreak due to low humidity and dry air, even as residents look for ways to warm themselves and the environment. Deaths are typically recorded during such fire outbreaks, and lost of plenty properties
He called on all humanitarian organizations such as NEMA, SEMA, RED CROSS, and Minister of Humanitarian Services to as a matter of urgency commence ceaseless campaign through the media on ways to reduce fire outbreak in the country.
“With the incessant outbreak of fire in this season, it has become crucial to alert Nigerians of the need to be more careful and avert keeping gas or any explosive closer to any object that could cause problems.
“Already, the arrival of the dry season is gradually creeping and putting people and businesses at the risk of fire disasters across the country,” he noted.
He appealed to the public to adhere to basic fire safety measures to help reduce the occurrence of fire outbreaks during the harmattan season, stressing the need for Nigerians to be alerted and be sensitizing about improper use of domestic gas, bush burning, leaving electrical appliances connected to the socket even after use, and the use of charcoal, to prevent any action that could lead to destruction of property, lives and the environment.
“As a matter of fact and, without exception, no season of the year comes without affecting people’s lives, but the negative effects of harmattan season seem to outweigh benefits derived from the other seasons,” he stressed.
He also cautioned the general public against spraying of insecticides near cooking stoves or gas cookers at home, school, market, and restaurants.
Similarly,a Scientist and a micro-biologist from the College of Science and Technology (Womenhood Kaduna), Comrade Nurudden Bello, said it’s really high time to sensitize the general public on ways to reduce fire outbreak in the communities.
Bello made the appeal during an interview with Kaduna-base journalists at the college premises, saying, there was need to improve on the housekeeping culture, while checking indiscriminate refuse and bush burning.
According to him, there is also need to avoid wrong and improper storage of petroleum products in the houses, premises, to avert any dangers associated with fire outbreak at home.
While calling on people to reduce use of candle and firewood to light the
house at night, he equally appealed to the general public to halt use of sparking light and other small explosive devices the little children use when playing.
Responding, a Kaduna-based Non-Governmental Organization, NGO, on environment (Kaduna Metro Environment, Cleaning and Awareness) leader, Alhaji Suleman Jibrin, emphasized on the need for people to create awareness on dangers of fire outbreak at this season of harmattan.
They pointed that, “The increase in fire incidents and fire-related fatalities reported across the country is indeed sending a strong signal for citizens to be very conscious, especially as we approach the dry and dusty harmattan season.”
While calling on local and international media to equally support towards introducing programs that would educate the general public on dangers associated with fire outbreaks and ways to save communities against it, Alhaji Jibrin called for tougher punishment for anybody, who sets bush on fire indiscriminately.
He described bush burning as an abuse of environment, saying that it had negative consequences on soil fertility and by extension, crop growing.