A bill for an Act to repeal the Fire Service Act 2004 and enact the Fire and Emergency Service Act 2021 has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
This bill which sought to introduce stricter penalties for violation of building codes, fire regulations and other related matters was sponsored by Rep. Adejoro Adeogun (APC-Ondo) .
The lawmaker said that the bill also sought the expansion of responsibilities of the service to meet international best practices and the growing demands of citizens.
He recalled that the Fire Service Act (1963) saddled the service with the responsibility of mitigating fire disasters and combating fire emergencies.
According to him, this narrow scope of responsibility precludes non fire disasters such as flooding, building collapse, air and road accidents.
The lawmaker said that other natural disasters that might or might not be accompanied by fire but emergency rescue was required.
“This bill addresses this gap by expanding the scope of responsibilities of the fire service to include fire and non-fire related emergencies such as flooding, building collapse, construction site accidents, mining collapse and related land, sea and air accidents.
“This bill also seeks to introduce stricter penalties for violation of building codes, fire regulations, impersonation of fire service personnel and unlawful disclosure of privileged information obtained in the course of emergencies,’’ he said.
He said the bill would encourage investment in fire and emergency equipment by states, local g areas and corporate organisations to improve response to emergencies.
The legislator said he bill would empower the fire and emergency service chief to mobilise resources for the training, equipping and deployment of fire and emergency personnel for prompt response to emergencies.
The rep said that the bill provided for the establishment of a Fire and Emergency Service Reward Fund to reward fire and emergency fire officers.
Adeogun said that Nigeria had in the past, lost lives and billion dollar assets to fire, flood and similar disasters.
He said the bill hoped to lay the foundation for mitigating of future disasters and saving the nation from avoidable loss of lives and resources.
The parliamentarian urged his colleagues to support the bill to go through second reading and its eventual passage into law.
In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker of the house, Rep. Ahmed Wase (APC-Plateau) referred the bill to relevant committees of the house for further legislative actions.