Sunday, May 22, 2022

Fire service saves 587 Nigerians, N18.9trn properties in 2021 – Aregbesola  

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The Federal Fire Service, FFS, responded to 2,845 SOS distress calls in which it saved 587 lives, rescued 260 persons and saved property worth N18.9 trillion in 2021, Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has said.

Mr Aregbesola stated this at the decoration of the new Controller General, CG, of FFS, Abdulganiyu Jaji, on Thursday in Abuja.

The minister therefore, charged Mr Jaji to surpass this feat that was achieved by his predecessor.

He tasked the new CG to justify the investment made by President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that the service was revamped to meet up with current realities and globally accepted standards.

According to Mr Aregbesola, Mr Jaji is coming to preside over a service that has been revamped from a moribund institution to a first class disaster and emergency management machine.

The minister recalled that when the current administration came on board, the service was only fitfully represented in Abuja and Lagos, with two functioning fire engines.

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He said that the FFS was now represented in all the states of the federation, with state of the art firefighting and disaster management equipment.

Mr Aregbesola said that Buhari had taken special interest in the Ministry of Interior, and had supported its agencies, including FFS to retool and re-kit.

“As a result of this, the Federal Government provided 106 modern firefighting trucks to the FFS.

“Last year, the Federal Government also provided N10.4 billion infrastructure upgrade comprising of 44 firefighting engines, 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines and 20 basic life support ambulances.

“In 2021, 17 firefighting officers were sent to Belarus for advanced trainer-training course; these officers are the master trainers that are now training other officers on modern firefighting, disaster and emergency management,’’ he said.

He said that a piece of aerial firefighting equipment designed for skyscrapers in Lagos State, was commissioned by the President, saying that Buhari had devoted resources to the FFS more than the service ever had since inception.

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“This is the legacy the new CG will be inheriting, and you are required to take it a notch higher,’’ he said.

Mr Aregnesola, however, urged building approving agencies never to approve any plan without the input of the FFS.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Shuaibu Belgore, charged the new CG to address cases of indiscipline in the service.

He noted that the challenges ahead of the CG were enormous, adding that Jaji required doggedness to move the service forward.

Mr Belgore urged the CG to take training and other welfare package of members of staff seriously, and to form a team that would help him achieve his objectives.

Responding, Mr Jaji said he was grateful to God and to the President for finding him worthy to stir the affairs of the FFS at this time.

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“I will not let you down,’’ Mr Jaji said.

He sought the support of all stakeholders to enable him make the dreams of the service a reality, stressing that the success of the service was in the unity of personnel and support of all Nigerians.

According to him, he will stand on the legacies of his predecessors and prioritise Public Private Partnership (PPP) to inclusiveness.

He promised to enhance the capacity of staff, actualise the FFS partnership with the Nigerian Airforce, aimed at area fire combat using aircraft.

Mr Jaji said that under his watch, focus would be more on fire prevention than control.

He said that he would roll out massive campaign to enlighten the general public on how to prevent fire.

NAN

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