ABUJA – President Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday called for a synergy between the Federal and State Fire Services to boost efforts in the prevention and control of fire disasters.
Jonathan made the call at the presentation of 2014 National Fire Safety Award, conferred by the Fire Disaster Prevention and Safety Awareness Association of Nigeria, in Abuja.
The association also presented a research document on the “road map” for overhauling of the fire service in Nigeria to Jonathan.
Jonathan said the synergy would further comples effort in reorganising and reinvigorating the service to discharge its mandate of preventing and managing fire disasters.
“It is the policy of the present administration to develop a state of the art fire service to prevent fire disasters and loss of life and property.
“Fire by its nature does not give notice before it occurs and when it does it leaves damages,’’ the president who was represented by the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, said.
“Due to this fact, government is working with several NGO’s and associations to boost efforts in fire prevention and control.
“The Project Development International, a consortium of companies in the U.S has also offered to construct 227 fire stations with state of the art equipment across the country,” Jonathan said.
He said the fire service in partnership with private organisations had developed a fire alert system that triggered on detecting smoke that could lead to fire outbreak.
Earlier Mr Badanga Lamidi, the President of the Association, said the award was conferred on President Jonathan due to his concern for the fire sector and support to uplift the fire service in Nigeria.
Lamidi commended the efforts of the president in the creation of a fire safety code since the service inception in 1901 and granted the Ministry of Interior the approval to constitute a committee to reform the service.
He noted that in spite of the achievements made in the sector, the service needed an overhaul in the area of equipment, manpower, funding and re-examination of the current structure the service was operating in Nigeria.
Lamidi lamented the poor level of development of the fire services in the country, adding that, some states had no fire stations while others had one without manpower, equipment and funding.
“As at 2012 only about 332 fire stations exist in Nigeria to serve 160 million people and 774 local governments which is grossly inadequate by any standard.
“Unfortunately, if the federal government channels its effort to fully develop the service and the state and local government continues to show nonchalant attitude to development of the service then the problems will remain unresolved,’’ he said.
Lamidi said that since most fire disasters occurred in state and local government areas, a synergy between them and the Federal Fire Service was necessary to overcome the problem.
He further lamented the increasing spate of market fire across the country, saying the trend affected the nation’s economy and caused impoverishment of the people.
Lamidi said through research carried out by the association in fire services across the country it had come up with a road map for the restructuring of the service.
Dr Bamanga Tukur, the Chairman, Nigeria Railway Corporation, called on Nigerians to appreciate the role of the fire service in disaster prevention and control in the country. (NAN)