Lagos Assembly sets up committee to probe elevator accident at government hospital

THE Lagos State House of Assembly inaugurated an eight-member committee to probe an elevator accident at Odan General Hospital, Lagos Island, claiming the life of a doctor Diaso Vwaere.

The House’s Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa disclosed this during plenary on Friday, August 4, while promising that justice would be served.

The committee, inaugurated on Thursday, August 3, would be headed by Deputy Speaker of the House Mojisola Meranda, and the investigations would last for two weeks.

“The eight-man committee, to be headed by the Deputy Speaker, Mrs Mojisola Meranda, includes Mr David Setonji, Mr Lara Oyekan, Mr Olayinka Ajomale, Mr Shabi Adekola, Mrs Omolara Olumegbon, Mr Akanbi Oluwa and Mr Olarenwaju Afinni.

“They have a mandate to report their findings to the House in two weeks. It is unimaginable the pain that the loss of the medical doctor would bring to her immediate family. It is saddening to lose such a young promising daughter,” Obasa said.

Vwaere died on Tuesday, August 1, when the elevator at the hospital staff quarters crashed from the ninth floor to the ground with her in it.

The deceased, who graduated from Babcock University, was said to be undergoing her mandatory one-year Housemanship at the hospital with less than two weeks to complete the programme at the time of her death.

Vwaere did not die immediately after the crash, though she was stuck in the elevator for about an hour before engineers arrived.

Long history of fault

The ICIR reported that the elevator had been faulty for about three years, and there had been no serious efforts by the hospital management to see to its repair.

Sources disclosed that the elevator capacity had been reduced from eight people to just two before the fatal accident.

“Particularly aggrieved because we’ve complained for a long time about this elevator. We’ve manoeuvred, managed and prayed each time we had to use it. Empty promises will be made to fix it….till it killed one of us,” a doctor Olarenwaju Aiyepola wrote on Twitter.

In 2020, Medical Guard, an association of all Lagos State Medical and Dental Doctors, made a post on Twitter on the state of the elevator.

“FACT: The doctors’ quarters at General Hospital Lagos has 10 floors. It has a non-functional elevator and no running water. Doctors who live on the 10th floor, including pregnant women, climb the stairs multiple times daily,” the tweet read.



     Lagos doctors declare strike action

    Following Vwaere’s death, hospital workers staged a protest while the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) declared a strike action at the three government hospitals situated on Lagos Island.

    The association declared a five-day mourning period for the deceased, while the strike was scheduled indefinitely.

    Meanwhile, Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu earlier called for an investigation into the mechanical fault of the elevator, describing the accident as distressing via social media on Wednesday, August 2.

    “In light of this tragedy, I have taken immediate action to initiate a thorough investigation into the cause of the mechanical failure. It is my sincere commitment that this investigation will be conducted with utmost transparency and fairness, leaving no room for any biases or favouritism,” Sanwo-Olu noted.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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