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President Jonathan, like DIG Haruna, Prof. Onwuliri and Others our Rescue/Aviation System failed them
By: John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D  
 Published  June 13th, 2012

The reports are always the same with residents and neighbors in emergency matters, serving as rescue hands in plane crashes, and helping victims despite the dangerous situations.

This civilian effort is becoming all too common as emergency officials like the fire, police and other rescue officials are usually helpless in the face of lack of adequate equipment, poor water supply and the presence of unmanageable fire trucks.

In fact many of our fire stations are not in good working conditions resulting in rapid spread of fire, thereby making survival of lives and properties almost impossible.

As in the case of retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, John Haruna and his team, the men of the Plateau State Fire Service in charge of the area of the crash site reportedly were helpless to  Haruna and others as they could be heard screaming for help inside the burning plane. There was no water in the fire service tanks. This was just a few months ago.

By the time another fire service in the Jos area came to the crash site, the wicked and the raging fire had consumed the victims to the point of demise.

In the same vein, reports from witnesses in the case of Prof. Celestine Onwuliri and 152 others in the Dana airplane crash in Lagos revealed similar helplessness in the initial response of the government’s rescue team; and it could be possible that some of the occupants were also screaming for help. But with a national rescue team known for its lack of promptness and equipment, death came too soon to all of the 153 occupants, including Prof. Onwuliri whose body reportedly was with no burns and had his Rosary in his hand.

In other words, Prof Onwuliri and others watched death in the face, as it took them out through the burring flame—only if our fire and other rescue services were healthy many of them could have survived.

Like the case of DIG Haruna, it was the neighbors who attempted to do their best initially but helplessly.

President Jonathan , there is something wrong in all of these gross stupidities; especially for a nation reportedly standing well economically per your Democracy day speech, yet we are unable to provide basic and adequate rescue amenities to the people.

Mr. President, our disaster management and aviation systems are so lacking that precious lives are being wasted ‘just like that’ and nothing seems to happen to those in charge who appear to discharge many of these services with indifference, negligence and feelings of being untouchable.

Mr. President, in recent time money has been poured into the rescue operations and aviation management but as usual someone or a few top officials as a result of ingrained corruption, deep seated greed and profound self-centeredness will let needed services die even if it is at the expense of the lives of innocent men, women and children.

Mr. President, these mannerisms are utterly unfair and change the course now for the sake of the perished which included those parents on the ground whose three children were searching for hopelessly.

Mr. President, take an aggressive stand for the sake of those four Nigerian-American children from West Hartford, Connecticut which included 5-months old Noah, Kaiyen and Kaima, 1-year-old twins; and 3-year-old Kamsi and their parents.

Mr.President, Prof. Onwuliri and four of his colleagues from the National Universities Commission were on official duties when death consumed them ‘just like that’ by an airplane known to have been  certified by our aviation experts!

As you know Sir, Deputy Inspector General of Police Haruna and his co-occupants were pushed to quick death, and they were also on official duties.

Mr. President, from the point of psychology, many of our heads of agencies appear to be suffering from chronic and gross misconduct, and they always get away with these transgressions as they can easily find a way to make the ‘system’ work for them through many others of the same unwholesome mentality.

In a healthy society, by now those heads and officials that were in charge of certifying a plane like the Dana one, and those in charge of rescue services would by now be on immediate suspension while the case is being investigated; and at the same time they will be required to take series of psychological test as in personality and intellectual functioning evaluations, for the purpose of fitness of duty or continued leadership.

Unfortunately in our country where anything goes these rescue heads and aviation heads will concern themselves more with their personal survival than anything else. President, tell Nigerians not this time!  

Mr. President, as a practicing clinical/forensic psychologist,  unless we start some type of objective psychological cleansing in regards to staff and heads, successfully  going through a series of psychological testing for the purpose of measuring their  mental health, judgment, insight, alertness and problem solving skills; we will remain where we are now or  even worse.

The Psychological testing will single out troubled staff or leaders that need rehabilitation or removal, and such test should be routine and recurrent. And this type of testing is not the same thing as psychiatric testing which is more about medication-based mental health assessment and treatment.  The Psychological testing is essential as it would specifically help unearth these unusual careless and indifferent behaviors as well as uncover self-aggrandizement behaviors.  

Mr. President, it is frustrating that basic amenities like water, well-stocked/equipped fire stations and proper rescue/emergency equipment, and transparent quality control/record management in aviation communications are still substandard.

Mr. President, the level of response to emergency situations will change heavily with psychologically, ethically and rightful-minded workers and heads.

Sir, do this on behalf of those who continue to lose their lives through burning houses, businesses, vehicles and airplanes in order to drastically reduce these noted harms. Enough is enough!

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., is an Abuja-based Forensic/Clinical Psychologist. 08126909839

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