Ibrahim Liman, Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, has disclosed that the Federal Government had concluded plans to establish fire stations in all the 109 Senatorial Districts in the country as part of efforts to mitigate fire disasters in the country.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, in Abuja, Liman said a technical group to assess Oil Tank Farm Safety and Management had also been established, with a view to mitigate disasters arising from oil tank farm explosions, especially in the South West and South South.
He further disclosed that the agency planned to purchase additional 89 fire fighting trucks made up of 44 water tenders, 15 ambulances, 15 water tankers and 15 rapid intervention vehicles.
He said: “We discovered that it is necessary to extend our operations from the state headquarters to the Senatorial Districts, so that we can be closer to the people, because the closer we are, the better our response time.
“The moment we start taking delivery of these vehicles, we will now identify some Senatorial Districts that are more prone to disasters and then we will deploy our men and trucks.
“But we will pick them state by state.
“We must touch every state.
“The first number of trucks is 44 and we have 36 states.
“So, we will identify one from each of the states and send the vehicle there.
“When the next batch of trucks comes, we will continue with the plan until we are able to cover the 109 Senatorial Districts in the country.”
According to Liman, in 2020, the Service commissioned and deployed 36 state-of-the-art fire fighting trucks across the six geopolitical zones to complement the operations of State Fire Services and reduce response time to fire and other related emergencies.
Also in 2020, he said the Service collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Environment to train 750 personnel on COVID-19 response strategies and participated in decontamination and disinfection of Government Offices, Schools, Markets, Streets, Churches, Mosques and recreation centres across the country.
Other milestones, he added, were the establishment of eight National Fire Data Repository Centres across the six geopolitical zones of the country to enhance speedy response to emergency calls, “deployment of fire fighter’s tunic worth N6.5 million to Bauchi and Kebbi State Governments; and synergizing with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to improve and integrate the service communication with 112 (emergency toll number).”
Meanwhile, Liman disclosed that the service saved 1,453 lives and property worth N1.35 trillion in 2020, adding that the FFS also responded to 3,555 fire calls, while the country lost properties worth N32.12 billion.
Public and government buildings recorded 543 incidents, while private dwellings recorded 1,382 fire incidents during the period under review, he said, adding: “Some other affected areas were educational establishments, shops, hotels, event centres and others.
“574 fire incidents were caused by faulty electrical equipment, 246 by power surges, 51 by candles, 181 by cigarette stubs and bush fires, 404 by accident and arson, as well as several other causes.”
Liman, who lamented the continued attacks on firefighters by mobs at fire scenes, said the service had concluded arrangement with the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to provide armed personnel to secure scenes of fire incidents, for unhindered operation of fire fighters.
“In most cases, our men are attacked when they respond to fire outbreak or other emergencies.
“We have records of this from the Nyanya (FCT) axis.
“We have stopped our men from responding to fire calls from that area until the community leaders are able to call their people to order.
“We have also engaged the Police and the NSCDC to provide cover for our men and equipment during emergencies.”
On funding, the CG said: “There is a section of the National Insurance Commission Act that says they should give certain percentage to the fire service, not to the Federal Fire Service, but the fire services at the federal, states and local governments.
“So, we are engaging the management of NAICOM to ensure that the money is released for the maintenance of our fire trucks and for capacity building.”