From left, Acting CG, FFS, Dr Karebo Samson, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the out-gone CGF, Dr Liman Ibrahim at his pulling out parade at the National Fire Academy, Sheda, Abuja. Photo: Halima Idris
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has warned of more fire outbreaks as the hot season intensifies.
The minister gave the warning in Abuja at the pulling out parade of the out-gone Controller General (CG) of the Federal Fire Service (FFS) Dr Liman Ibrahim.
Ogbeni Aregbesola, who was worried about increasing cases of fire incidents across the country, stressed the need for an extensive campaign on fire safety and prevention to forestall fire outbreaks, especially man-made blazes.
“Although there are naturally occurring fire accidents, most accidents are man-made, accidentally, negligently or on purpose, (arson), and this can be prevented mostly if there is enough awareness,” the minister said.
“Nigerians should be made to know the various categories of fire and what the first responders should do before the arrival of the fire Officers,” he added.
According to him, the Federal Government has spent over N10 billion on fire infrastructure upgrade in the year 2021 alone, including the acquisition of 44 firefighting engines, 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines and 20 basic life support ambulances, which were distributed across the States of the Federation.
Ogbeni Aregbesola extolled the virtues and legacy of the out-gone FFS Boss, noting that his tenure brought about unprecedented growth and development as well as a much-needed revolution in the service since he took over the reins in 2019.
Enumerating Dr Ibrahim’s achievements, the minister said: “it will be on record that the expansion of the service, which began in 2015 from the fitful presence in Lagos and Abuja beginning from its inception in 1901, was brought to a head under his tenure. The FFS is proudly now in all the states of the federation.
“Under him, the Service established six additional training schools totaling eight, one in each geopolitical zone. The FFS has also procured fire-fighting vehicles and materials at an unprecedented rate under him and commissioned aerial firefighting equipment, which was the first of its kind in Nigeria, and has also reduced the fire emergency response time to seven minutes.”
In his farewell speech, the outgone FFS CG, Dr Ibrahim pointed out that the successes achieved under his tenure happened with the support of President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of the interior as well as personnel of the service.
Dr Ibrahim, who is also a pioneer staff of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) fire service, said his experience through the ranks in the fire service has been rewarding and worthwhile.
He said he was retiring from service a fulfilled individual, confident that the Officers he left behind will be able to carry on and build on his legacy.
“I spent 17 years with the Niger state fire service before I was invited to start what is today known as the FCT fire service and I headed FCT fire service for 13 years,” Dr Ibrahim recounted.
“Then I was invited by the then Minister of interior Comrade Abba Moro, having heard of my work, to come over to the Federal Fire Service,. This is how I found myself in the FFS,” he added.
The Acting CG of the FFS, Dr Karebo Samson, said the out-gone CG brought to bear his wealth of knowledge in scaling up the capacity of officers of the service.
“Among all the Bosses I have been privileged to work within the Federal Fire Service Dr Liman Alhaji Ibrahim stands out,” Dr Karebo noted.
He said the FFS had in the year 2021 received about 2,845 fire calls and rescued 260 victims of emergencies, saved 587 lives while 136 were lost.
Dr Karebo also said the estimated property saved was worth N18,996.47 trillion and estimated property lost is N3,045.27 trillion.
According to the acting CG, a major cause of the fires in 2021 are electricity-related.
Reporting by Halima Idris; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor