From left, Governor Darius Ishaku, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, FFS CG Liman Ibrahim at the Taraba State Government House. Photo: Halima Idris
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said the intervention of the Federal Fire Service, FFS, in disaster management in the second quarter of this year has saved Nigerians from losing properties worth over 15 trillion naira.
He said the Service also saved 166 Iives and rescued about 82 persons in distress due to fire and other related emergencies.
Ogbeni Aregbesola disclosed this in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, at the inauguration of a state-of-the-art fire fighting truck deployed to the Taraba State command of the Federal Fire Service.
He said late last year up until the early part of this year the nation has witnessed frightening fire incidents, ranging from infernos in major markets, gas stations to pipelines fire incidents that claimed many lives and destroyed property worth trillions of naira.
According to him, Statistics at his disposal showed that the Federal Fire Service in the second quarter of this year had also received 638 distressed fire calls from which 27 lives were lost and property estimated at three-point seventeen trillion naira destroyed.
The Minister, while expressing appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his resolve to strengthen the nation’s fire service, stated that the President’s support to all the agencies in his ministry has repositioned them for better delivery on their core mandates.
“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.
Modern fire service equipment
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola also revealed that the modern fire equipment being deployed to Taraba State is part of the N10.4 billion infrastructure upgrade fund approved by the Federal Executive Council on the 3rd of March this year.
The Minister, charged the Taraba State Government to invest in firefighting equipment for the State Fire Service stressing that the role of the Federal Fire Service was only complimentary as firefighting services fall under the concurrent legislative list.
“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 added.
Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku commended the Minister, for being instrumental in the desired changes to the Federal Fire Service and other Services under the Ministry of Interior, noted that his intervention has scaled up the performance of personnel of agencies under his watch.
The governor explained that shortly after assuming office as Executive Governor in 2015, his government overhauled the State Fire Service by carrying out regular officer training and maintenance of its operational vehicles to ensure a speedy response to emergencies.
“Going forward we hope to train more staff who will manage the sophisticated engine that is given to us and then we would look to see that we get to the local government level so that they too can be able to cope with such crisis especially during the dry season”, the Governor said.
The Controller General, CG of the FFS, Dr. Liman Ibrahim, solicited the State government’s support to the Fire Service in the state in terms of logistics to effectively complement the efforts of the State Fire Service.
Reporting by Halima Idris, editing by Abdullahi Lamino