By Omeiza Ajayi
As part of measures to reduce fire disasters across the country, the federal government has approved the establishment of five training schools for the Federal Fire Service FFS to assist in the training and retraining of more firemen in the country.Firefighters struggling to quench the fire that gutted the House on the Rock at Airport Road in Abuja Sunday
While the government said it has also approved the purchase of 93 fire fighting trucks for the Fire Service, it said it has begun moves to strengthen the capacity of state fire services, saying it has been meeting with state governors to achieve the objective.
It particularly decried the wave of tanker explosions in some parts of the country in recent times.
Controller General of the Federal Fire Service FFS, Liman Alhaji Ibrahim, who disclosed Thursday in Abuja at a news conference to appraise his first six months in office, said the government has created six additional zones to enhance the operational efficiency of the service.
“Before the advent of this administration, most of the few trucks we had were largely unserviceable and we most times had to employ the services of prayer warriors to help us pray for the trucks not to break down when going for operations. However, as I am talking to you, President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously approved the purchase of 93 fire fighting trucks for the Service. This is in addition to the various trucks and other vehicles that we had taken delivery of in the past four years and which have been commissioned and deployed for operations.”
According to the CG, government has equally granted approval for the building of five training schools to enhance the recruitment, training and retraining of personnel.
He said: “Before my appointment, the Federal Fire Service had its presence in only Abuja and Lagos and the Six Geo-political zones; we have Zone A comprising of Benue, Nasarawa & Plateau with headquarters in Makurdi, Zone B comprising of Katsina, Jigawa & Kaduna with Headquarters in Kano; Zone C comprising Bauchi, Yobe & Borno with Headquarters in Bauchi; Zone D comprising Enugu, Ebonyi, & Anambra with Headquarters in Enugu; Zone E comprising Akwa-Ibom, Rivers & Cross River with Headquarters in Uyo and; Zone F comprising Lagos, Ogun, & Oyo with Headquarters in Lagos.
“But as we speak, the Service has expanded its operational activities by establishing six additional Zonal Headquarters thus; Zone G -Niger, Kogi & Kwara, with headquarters in Minna; H -Sokoto, Zamfara & Kebbi with headquarters in Sokoto; I-Adamawa, Taraba & Gombe, with headquarters in Yola; J -Owerri & Abia, with headquarters in Owerri; K-Delta, Edo & Bayelsa, with headquarters in Asaba; L-Osun, Ondo & Ekiti with headquarters in Osogbo”.
According to him, these Zonal Headquarters are to be equipped with a minimum of two state of the art firefighting trucks and manned by well trained and experienced firemen.
“The essence of our spread is to deliver fire services to Nigerians and to improve on our response time to emergencies as well as to compliment efforts of the State Fire Services.
“Within this period of my appointment, we have received and commissioned 12 modern fire trucks which are being
deployed in the newly created zones. So far, Sokoto and Niger States have taken delivery.
“We have renovated the Nyanya Fire Station here in Abuja which covers the suburbs of Nasarawa State.
We have received approval for the establishment of an additional five fire service training schools which will soon take off. They are located in Maiduguri, Calabar, Ilorin, Katsina, and Umuahia. These Training Schools will provide training for not just the Federal Fire Service personnel but the State Fire Services and other Fire Services within and outside the country.
“Strengthening of the State Fire Services has been my major concern. When I assumed office, one of my major goals was to see how the State Fire Services can be strengthened for effectiveness and efficiency and to achieve that I have been reaching out to State Governors, supporting and encouraging them to do the needful about their Fire Services. I also believe that a strengthened State Fire Service complimented by our presence in the Zones will go a long way in addressing the gaps in fire service delivery across the country,” he added.