The Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau has said that the present administration will not hesitate to scrap all fire service units established by ministries and agencies of government in order to adequately strengthen the Federal Fire Service, originally mandated to carry out the task of fire fighting for impressive result.
The minister argued that the presence and existence of parallel fire service units established by government agencies like the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), have largely distracted the Federal Fire Service and eroded its performance in securing lives and properties from fire disasters.
He said, “Even before I became minister, I started wondering what agencies like NEMA have to do with fire service to set-up fire-fighting units. I think this is a misnomer that we have to address very soon,”
Dambazzau who frowned at the dilapidated and obsolete equipment with which the fire service was performing its assigned mandate regretted that such a vital government agency has suffered prolonged neglect despite its strategic importance in the nation’s security architecture, especially as it is charged with the responsibility of putting out flames to save lives and properties.
Describing the fire service units of many federal agencies as “a misnomer, he promised to change the face of the agency , pledging to purchase trucks, procure modern fire fighting equipments as well as empower staff.
Describing fire fighting as a highly risky and dangerous profession, Dambazau said the neglect of the agency for so long including allowing it to suffer from zero allocation was unfair.
He however charged, the fire fighters to eschew any act capable of tarnishing the image of the Service and be disciplined and maintain high integrity at all times.
On his part, the Controller General Federal Fire Service, Engineer Joseph Garba Anebi informed the minister that the agency which was established as far back as 1901 has only 1710 staff and operates with obsolete equipment and the equally out-dated Fire Service Act of 1963
Anebi who lamented that that there is zero funds allocation for procurement of fire fighting vehicles and ancillary equipment said, “Agencies of government without the mandate to fight are better funded and are procuring fire fighting equipment
He said, ‘’Construction works at the National Fire Academy has come to stand still due to paucity of fund.