Burglar-proofs, Prison Bars Or Barbecue Mesh?
Notable events occurred in recent times.....
These events were tragic!
Steel bars securely enmeshed in concrete confidently installed in homes...offices...factories....turned out to be the Achilles heels to humans....costing them their lives....rather than saving those lives!
In the non-too-distant past, hundreds of factory workers at Odogunyan, Ikorodu, Lagos state of Nigeria, were burnt to death within company premises because they could not make an escape through locked iron gates!
This disaster was to yet replicate itself elsewhere within the state.
Again recently, a family of four was roasted to death in Jos.
They yelled for help soon after the fire broke out...but even though concerned neighbours heard their shouts for help, they were not able to come to their aid....
Reason: Burglar-proof iron bars again....preventing the helpers from gaining access inside and barring the trapped victims from escaping! A mother. Her two kids. A house-help. All burnt beyond recognition!
Yet again a university in Kenya...on the border with lawless Somalia....and its El-Shabab, a dreadful terrorist gang of radical Islamists. Steel bars on door frames and windows proved the worthy nemesis...as security men could not gain access to the students held hostage, who also could not jump through windows and make their escape!
So, the terrorists took their time as they sifted through the victims....asking all to recite Koranic verses...to separate Muslims from "infidels"...who they killed in multitudes execution-style! 147 at the last count!
So what happened to the Fire Code?
The Fire Code mandates that ample chance be accorded escape in emergencies during the design and construction of private and public buildings..more so the latter!
Besides, what happened to basic common sense? Gone on a trip? For nations and nations without end?
Why must we prefer the risk of being roasted like common barbecue to being robbed? Because that appears to be what informs our collective panic to turn our various homes and offices into "little little" prisons by dousing them in vertical and horizontal steel bars!
And if we must erect these steel structures, what stops us from designing them like steel meshes with hinges on one side...and rings, hooks and padlocks on the other. We can design each mesh for each window and each door.
Wealthier families can have these doors and window steel gates designed to open in a synchronized manner. The whole thing may even be automated.....so that all windows and all doors are flung open at the touch of a button...or at the faintest sign of smoke!
We must be creative in these matters....
Lest we not only remain prisoners in our own houses....but barbecue roasted in buildings turned ovens....
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.