Wednesday, May 03, 2006

When a Minister Turns into a Road-side Medic

Motor vehicle accidents are common in Nigeria, and are fatal most of the time it occurs. The victims either die instanta or moments later; many while waiting to be retrieved from the accident site by medics that don't exist, or while on their way to a medical center.

I don't really know how to react to this accident story in ThisDay (posted below), a Nigerian newspaper, where a member of the Nigerian federal government (Dr Mimiko) found himself playing the role of a medic/rescue coordinator at the site of a fatal motor crash. Perhaps all is not lost yet for Nigeria, because it is not uncommon for top government officials, who usually travel in convoy and at high speed, to ignore accidents victims along their route.

Here is the story as written in ThisDay newspaper, all yours to spin as you wish:

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko yesterday found himself at the head of an emergency rescue team when his convoy ran into the scene of a ghastly motor accident which occurred a few kilometres away from Kwali town along the Abuja-Lokoja highway.

Four people, all men, died on the spot while more than 10 others sustained varying degrees of injuries.The accident which involved an Edo-registered Mercedes Bus was said to have been caused by a burst rear tyre while the vehicle was on high speed.

According to a lucky survivor who sustained minor injuries and just simply gave her name as Kate, the vehicle took off from Zuba Park in the Federal Capital Territory and was heading for Lagos but had a burst tyre less than 45 minutes into the journey. She said the driver lost control when one of the rear tyres burst and threw the vehicle off-course leading to several somersaults before it finally rested by the road side after throwing out several passengers.

On seeing the confused situation at the scene, Dr. Mimiko quickly took control as there were no rescue efforts before his arrival. He quickly organised a rescue team from among his personal aides and some lucky survivors of the accident.

While he checked the condition of the victims and offered first aid to those that were still alive, his security details controlled traffic and organised vehicles to take the wounded to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital which was a few kilometres away.

The minister’s background as a medical doctor was quite evident as he was very professional in organising the rescue team and offering first aid to the victims.