FG to blacklist communities impeding fire rescue
Controller-General of the Federal Fire Service, Dr. Ibrahim Liman, has said that communities that continue to frustrate fire rescue operations despite many warnings, would be blacklisted by the agency.
Liman, made this known at a media chat and decoration of promoted senior officers of the service, in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the federal fire service is fast repositioning to deliver efficient service in terms of reduced fire response time and this is evident in the decrease in losses due to fires as compared to the past but lamented that some communities make it difficult for firemen to carry out their duty by staging mob attacks.
The CG threatened to blacklist any community that attacks officers after continuous warnings to community leaders saying, “Most of these mobs are trying to take advantage of the fire outbreaks to loot property therefore when they see our men, they attack them under the pretext of saying officers came late.”
Liman said although there are still many challenges with regards to budgetary need in meeting the growing demands in the sector, the agency has gradually seen better allocation and has been able to undertake a number of projects that saw to the strengthening of the agency and in service delivery such as the training and re-training of officers.
“Prior to this administration, the service had offices only in Abuja, Lagos, Rivers, and Kaduna with staff strength of less than 2, 000 but through stringent efforts, we have metamorphosed into 6 zones of over 6, 000 staff with presence in all the states of the federation under my watch.
Not less than N41.54 billion worth of property has been lost to fire incidences across Nigeria in the last year while an estimated N4.358 trillion worth of property was also saved by men of the fire service within the same period.
Noting that although there are still many challenges with regards to budgetary need in meeting the growing demands in the sector, the agency has gradually seen better allocation and has been able to undertake a number of projects that saw to the strengthening of the agency and in service delivery such as the training and re-training of officers.
Addressing the spike in recent accidents to industrial fires, Liman said, “In 2020, we attended to 3, 555 fire calls and 353 rescue emergencies saving 1,100 live while 147 lives were lost. Also, an estimated N1.351trillion worth of property was saved.
Also, in the first quarter of 2021, we had 986 fire calls, 34 rescue emergencies and saved 175 lives while 11 lives were lost. An estimated N3.7 trillion worth of property was saved while property last is estimated at N9.42 billion,” he said.
While responding to questions on recent fire outbreaks across offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), the CG said the agency recently met with authorities in INEC and is making plans to position one of the emergencies response firefighting trucks at INEC that would be to help in fire rescue operations.
Already, 106 state-of-the-art fire appliances were procured between 20l6 to 2020 including a hydraulic platform in Lagos and 94 additional fight fighting trucks distributed across the states.
He further said a review of the fire Act of 1963 will ensure better supervision of the state’s fire services because as it is, they are autonomous hence not very efficient.
According to him, the proposed fire police squad will go a long way in ensuring the protection of firefighters at fire rescue scenes.
Meanwhile, the minister of the federal ministry of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has urged newly promoted officers of the fire service to “show more commitment in response to the greater responsibility and trust” placed on them.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, Aregbesola tasks the officers on prompt service delivery in saving and protecting the lives and property of Nigerians.
64 officers were promoted including 4 Deputy-Comptrollers General’s, (DCGs), 14 Assistant Controller-Generals, (ACGs), 9 Controllers of fire, (CFs), 11 Deputy Controllers of fire (DCFs), and 26 Assistant Controllers of Fire, (ACFs).