By James Emejo
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, yesterday said the safety of the treasury remained critical for economic growth and sustainability.
Ahmed who inaugurated the fire sub station located at the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) – which is to be manned by the Federal Fire Service (FFS) – stated that the treasury was crucial to ongoing public financial management reforms in line with the desire of the federal government to bring the country up to speed with other leading world economies.
The minister pointed out that in carrying out the enormous task, the treasury had not lost sight of the need to ensure that the work environment is not only conducive but safe.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Ahmed Ali, Ahmed said the prioritisation of the OAGF was a welcome development.
She said: “Fire safety at the work place is the foremost consideration in human resources management, of recent, fire incidences have been reported in many government offices and in most cases such incidences were as result of failure to plan and implement fire preventive and safety measures”.
She explained that the commissioning of the fire station among other infrastructural development projects embarked on by the OAGF, was in line with the policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari – led administration to ensure safety in every workplace and its environs.
The treasury had earlier in April been gutted by fire, allegedly sparked off by faulty air conditioning conduit. The management had claimed no important document was lost in the inferno.
However, speaking to journa-lists during the inauguration of the fire unit, the Account General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, said even before the April fire outbreak, efforts had been underway to establish the unit to contain future incidences.
He said the move was to boost fire safety awareness and ensure that Federal Fire Service and all fire commands around the country are enhanced in such a way that people can take basic and preventive measures to prevent fire by observing laid down protocols.
The AGF said: “I have told the FFS on the need to sensitise Nigerians on awareness with protocols in the event of fire outbreak, so let Nigerians be sensitised and be aware and in the event of fire, necessary protocols should be taken to minimize loss of lives and property.”
“We are not unconscious that we need to provide safety of human being, and properties, but now that we have commission this fire station, we are not praying for fire, but in an event that fire comes, we can adequately address it before we get much more enforcement.”
He said collaboration was “always good for the benefit of the people and the public, I encourage other agencies to look at areas of synergy and partnership among themselves, and we have seen the beauty of this partnership with the Federal Fire Service.”
In his remark, the Controller General, FFS, Mr. Liman Ibrahim noted with this initiative, the service now had 12 zonal offices with 106 fire fighting vehicles to cover the entire country.
He said the service will purchase 44 more fire fighting trucks, 15 rapid intervention, water tanker of 10,000 water capacity, and 15 ambulances by next year.