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The Agbor Gas Explosion And Poor Law Enforcement
Published Feb 06, 2021 IN Column, THE REALITIES,
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APART from a few men and women who have decided to maintain a position of "sidon look" over the various forms of social cum economic maladies bedeviling the Nigerian society, everyone who spoke on the gas explosion that occoured at Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State recently, blamed the incident on poor enforcement of relevant laws on the location of Gas plants in Nigeria. They mention specifically, poor Environmental Impact Assessment (CIA) reports and necessary follow-ups by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) as a major lapse that often lead to monumental loss of lives and prop-erties as was experienced in Agbor on the 22nd of January, 2021.

Indeed, the Agbor Gas Explosion has ones again brought to the fore, the nega-tive effects of poor law enforcement on the economy, prosperity and the security of lives and properties in Nigeria.

Each time incidents such as that of Agbor occurs, one of the first things that register in the minds of people is the financial loss. They wonder how the business owners would be able to overcome the accompa-nying setback Others may choose to focus on the loss of lives and those to train the bereaved children of the dead. The next line of action remains to invite the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA or the State Emergency Management Agency SEMA.

In all these postulations, no one even mentions the role of the Insurance sector of the economy on matters relating to loss of lives and properties. The reason for this is lack of confidence on the ability of insur-ance firms to deliver on their own part of the agreement regarding claims by the insuring public when the unexpected happens.

The citizens are quick to cite instances when insurance companies failed to keep their part of the contract between them (insurance) and their clients. The mirage of negligence on the part of the Insurer and the insured would have been avoided in many instances If the legal system in the country was to live up to the expectations of the people.

The lack of interest on the part of Nige-rians in taking up insurance policies has in turn continued to adversely affect the growth of the industry, thereby denying the nation of the massive economic benefits and prosperity that the sector offer in terms of employment and spread of wealth.

Nigerian Re-Insurance Corporation is the underwriter to the Insurance companies in Nigeria, just as the Lloyds of London is the underwriter to the same group of firms in England. In other words, the company (Nigerian-Re) is to insurance companies, what the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN is to other banks in the country.

Whereas the Lloyds of London has ex-isted for three hundred and th irty-five years (335) years (1686-2021), our own company was founded in 1977 (44 years ago).

Meanwhile, the Nigerian equivalent of Lloyds appears dead in almost all the states except Abuja and Lagos. With the enforce-mentof relevant international insurance laws in the country, the sector can bounce back to reckoning and remain a major em-ployer of labour. For instance, no insurance firm managed by professionals will treat any threat of being sued forbad faith" with kid gloves as this entitles the plaintiff to 10% of the company's total worth if his or her (plaintiff) prayer is granted by the law courts with competent jurisdiction.

This is not the only sector where the neglect of the country's relevant laws have inflicted economic injuries on Nigeria and Nigerians.

There is a law against the abuse of the handling of the Naira, including spraying it on people during social functions. This law was dead on arrival. Even officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria who are supposed to enforce the it are no less guilty.


Somebody May ask, "what effect does the abuse of the nation's currency have on the economy?" Well, there are many but one can just dwell on a few.


The urge to go "partying" to spray money is one of the reasons behind Nigeria's drasti-cally reduced work-days in a week. To begin with, the fun and expectation of money to be sprayed on them is the principal motiva-tion of majority of the people that engage in extravagant display of wealth during social functions like burials, birthdays and mar-riage ceremonies.


Except for a very few, people become worse off economically after such functions due to borrowed money that they find dif-ficult to pay back unless some inherited properties are sold. Some even sell their properties before the commencement of such ceremonies and become poorer af-terwards.


Our nation aims to become one of the strongest economies in the world like the United States of America but the urge for "owambe" parties have reduced our work-ing days in a week to only about three in cumulative terms while other developed countries' labour force remain active for seven days of the week For example, many people in public service have the habit of leaving office by mid day of Thursday in order to meet up with social engagements on Fridays and Saturdays. They will return late to work on Mondays. A shop owner that opens his or her shop for business only three days in a week can never be at par with one that covers the whole seven days. This is how it is equally for countries and organisations of the world. To worsen matters, appropriate laws are not enforced against breakers of labour rules.


Those who are sanctioned for truancy in government offices are often merely rede-ployed to other "less lucrative departments as punishment.


There is always pressure on the law enforcement agencies to "temper justice with mercy each time criminal elements with link to influential men in authority are arrested with a view to prosecuting them. No Nigerian "big man" wants his or relations disciplined by those saddled with the responsibility to bring criminals to Justice and yet we crave for a crime-free society.


Is it not shocking to know that the Federal government of Nigeria is negotiating with bandits in the Northern part of the country who are demanding for a whopping sum of one hundred and fifty billion Naira (N150b) in order for them to suspend their criminal acts for just two years? This is in spite of the wanton destruction of lives and properties the North has suffered in their hands. According to the Northern Elders forum, it will require about one hundred years to return the area to the path of peace and prosperity. This is sad!


Back to the Agbor incident, if it is dis-covered through investigations that there are some standard requirements, especially in the area of training of operatives and adequate provision for emergency situa-tions, will the culprits be brought to book by those responsible for enforcing the law? Only time can tell.



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