The Federal Government has called on the state and local governments to invest in fire and emergency management in their jurisdiction.
Speaking during the unveiling of the firehouse and a Metropolitan Fire Station in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, lamented that the responsibilities bordering on fire service and disaster management had been left to the federal government alone.
He said, “It is quite unfortunate, but it seems the Federal Fire Service are now the main fire service providers in many parts of the country. It is my sincere hope that state governments will rise to the occasion and give fire service and emergencies the attention they require, and not abandon the service to the Federal Government. State and local governments should invest no matter how little. “
Aregbesola said the Fire Service before the Buhari era, had two fire engines.
He said, “When the administration came to power in 2015, the Federal Fire Service was only fitfully represented in Abuja and Lagos with two functional fire engines. But the FFS is now represented in all the states of the federation with state-of-the-art firefighting and disaster management infrastructure.”
He added that the Federal Government has provided 106 modern firefighting trucks to the Federal Fire Service, upgraded 44 firefighting engines, provided 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines, and 20 basic life support ambulances among others for the service.
Aregbesola said curtailing large-scale fires remains a challenge for the service, urging his successor to conclude the arrangement entered with the Nigerian Air Force in that regard.
He said, “The prime challenge of the FFS is on combating wildfires, bushfires, and other large-scale fires requiring aerial attacks. We have initiated an arrangement with the Nigeria Airforce to use their planes to waterbomb fires of that nature from the air. It is my sincere hope that the Service will see this through.”
The Controller General of the service, Abdulganiyu Jaji, said the projects would help his men to quickly respond to incidents as well as provide an enabling environment for personnel.
He also said the fire station was strategically positioned for rapid fire and rescue operations to the community in a much shorter life-saving time.