The Federal Fire Service (FFS) on Tuesday in Abuja, commissioned 10 modern firefighting trucks worth N1.9 billion to combat fire outbreaks in the country.
Inaugurating the trucks, Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola said the immediate deployment of the trucks to zones would help fight incessant fire outbreaks in the country.
He urged the service zonal offices and training schools to optimise and effectively use the assets acquired to improve fire coverage and enhance emergency response operations to complement state fire services.
He warned state governors with the notion to privatise government firefighting trucks to desist from the act and return the already possessed ones to the state fire service.
“The trucks are not for private purposes, buy yours and we will train your fire men for free without charge but will not give you our fire trucks.
“Do not confiscate fire trucks and desist from such acts,” he said.
Aregbesola advised the service to intensify efforts on inspecting buildings certification and if need be, seal off buildings that failed to comply until they were ready to be compliant.
“This is essential because we have noted that many grand buildings, especially public buildings, are not fire and other disaster compliant.
“ Many of them do not have fire hydrants, assembly points nor emergency exit routes.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Liman Ibrahim, Controller General, FFS, said that the newly commissioned trucks would be deployed to seven states of the federation; Nassarawa, Kaduna, Kwara, Oyo, Edo , Bayelsa and Anambra.
He said a special intervention fund approved by the federal government to address issues of outstanding debts to contractors for the procurement of firefighting trucks made the acquisition of the trucks possible.
“Although, the fund, not fully released, has enabled the service pay contractors for the delivery of the available trucks.
“Three more trucks will arrive the country this week and will be deployed to three states; Abia, Kebbi and Ondo.
“ If the present tempo of funding is sustained to enable us meet our obligations to the contractors before the year ends, we shall have fire stations in all state capitals and the FCT,” he said.
“It is therefore expected that by the commissioning of these fire trucks and their subsequent deployment to seven states, the fire services’ presence in states with fire trucks will increase to 26 states, this leaves out 10 states,” he said.
Mrs Georgina Ehuriah, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, advised the CG to prioritise capacity building to enable the service alongside its personnel respond timely to disaster management.
She said that it was gratifying to see that the service had repositioned itself as a key player in ensuring safety of citizens in the country.
“The ministry will continue to support the activities of the service to provide safety for the entirety of the nation,” she said.
NAN reports that the FFS on July 30, 2019, inaugurated 12 fire fighting trucks and water tankers to combat fire outbreaks in the country.