The Federal Fire Service in the second quarter of 2021 saved about 166 lives, rescued about 82 persons in distress due to fire and other related emergencies while saving property worth over N15.1 trillion. This is also as 27 lives were lost and property estimated at N3.017 trillion destroyed.
This much was revealed by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, at the commissioning of the state-of-the-art fire-fighting truck deployed by the Federal Government of Nigeria to compliment firefighting in Taraba State at the Government House Jalingo, the State Capital on Tuesday.
“It is noted that 2020 into 2021 has witnessed frightening fire incidents, ranging from markets to gas and pipelines fires around the country. Statistics at our disposal show that the FFS in the second quarter of 2021 received 638 fire calls from which regrettably, 27 lives were lost and property estimated at N3.017 trillion destroyed.
“The good news however, is that the Service within the quarter under review also saved about 166 lives, rescued about 82 persons in distress due to fire and other related emergencies while saving property worth over N15.1 trillion” Ogbeni Aregbesola noted.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for his resolve to strengthen the service, Ogbeni Aregbesola stated that the President’s support to all the services in his ministry has been immense.
“I must thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his continued support for the Ministry of Interior and her agencies. It pleases me to state that the delivery of the fire truck to Taraba State as seen today is indeed further testimony of the President’s resolve to reposition the FFS for better service delivery in line with its core mandate, which include humanitarian and emergency services.
“I must say that since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, FFS has experienced a phenomenal transformation from a moribund department to a vibrant organisation equipped with modern and state-of-the-art firefighting equipment and today we are here to deliver one of the firefighting trucks to Federal Fire Service, Taraba State Command, to be manned by well trained, dedicated and committed personnel” the Minister noted.
Ogbeni Aregbesola also revealed that the equipment being commissioned “is part of the N10.4 billion infrastructure upgrade approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on March 3rd, 2021 comprising of 44 firefighting engines, 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines (not conventional ones) that can go into the nooks and crannies to respond to distressed calls and 20 basic life support ambulances”
The Minister, however, charged the State Government to invest in firefighting equipment for its own state fire service as the role of the Federal Fire Service was only complimentary and firefighting services falls under the concurrent legislative list.
“It is important, however, for State Governments to establish a robust fire service to complement what the Federal Fire Service is doing in their respective states. It is only when we have this complementary service that we can be rest assured that fire will not pose much threat to us in the preservation of lives and property.
“We must therefore not restrict fire service requirements or needs to state capitals or urban centres alone. Provisions should be made for Local Governments and rural areas, which have been victims of fire incidents and other emergencies as well. Farms and valuable economic trees have also been destroyed by fires in rural areas.
“I will urge the State Command to reciprocate the Federal Government’s gesture to optimize and effectively use these assets to improve fire cover, enhance emergency response operations and complement State Fire Services operations while enhancing fire safety across the country” the Minister advised the state governor.
Further in his remarks, the Minister urged the State to take advantage of the Fire Marshal and Warden Scheme of the Service in order to train volunteers for humanitarian services.
“It is on this note that I will encourage your Excellency to take advantage of the novel Fire Marshal and Warden scheme within FFS to train and equip volunteers within the state to join forces with the regular Corps”
Ogbeni Aregbesola reiterated the role of humans in fire fighting. “The people should also position themselves to be in the best place to secure their lives and make it easy for government to help them. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Everyone should be sensitive to and watchful of developments around them, especially matters that should be of security concern” the Minister said.
In his remarks, the Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, Dr. Ibrahim Liman, prayed the State Governor to also extend a hand of support to the Federal Fire Service in the state, saying that deployment of the modern Fire Service Truck to the state was meant to assist the firefighting efforts in the state. He noted that the responsibility of firefighting is a joint effort between the Federal, State and Local Governments.
“The fire truck we are commissioning is a huge national asset, requiring optimum maintenance and fuelling. We craved the indulgence of the State Government to facilitate deployment of utility vehicles to support the operation of the vehicle.
“Sir, we want you to sponsor personnel of the State Fire Service for local and foreign training in view of emerging trends in firefighting and inclusion of the Federal Fire Service in the State Security Council” CG Ibrahim Liman stated.
Whilst commissioning the Firefighting Truck, the State Governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, stated that shortly after taking office as Executive Governor in 2015, he realised the need to overhaul the Fire Service system in the state in order to meet the service primary objectives of protecting lives and property in the event of a fire disaster, as well as rescuing and protecting people involved in traffic accident and emergencies.
“We overhauled the State Fire Service by carrying out regular officer training, ensuring efficiency, discipline, increased morale, and the safety of all firefighters across the State’s Fire Command. We make sure that the Service operational vehicles are adequately maintained and functional for speedy response to crises 24 hours a day, seven days week. Chemical foam, a vital component for fire suppression, is also constantly procured to promote a state-wide operation” the Governor Stated” the governor revealed.
Gov. Ishaku who commended the Minister, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for bringing much desired change to the Federal Fire Service and other Services under the Ministry of Interior, noted that things have indeed changed for good since his coming on board.
“I must not fail to appreciate the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for instituting the much desired changed in the Nigeria security services, especially for agencies under his watch.
“I recall his brilliance and eloquence during the National Executive Council meetings when he was governor in Osun state. President Muhammadu Buhari indeed made the right choice in your selection and the good fruit is there for all to see” the Governor stated.
At the event were: the State Deputy Governor, Engr. Haruna Manu; the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Joseph Kunini; the State Chief Judge, Justice Philibus Andhetur; members of the State Executive Council; Director, Joint Services Department, Ministry of Interior, Mr. Peter Egbodo; Heads of Security Agencies in the State and traditional and religious leaders in the state.