N18.9trn Worth of Properties, 587 Lives Saved from Fire in 2021

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Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The Federal Fire Service (FFS) saved properties worth N18.9 trillion from destruction by fire as well as 587 lives and rescued 260 persons in 2021. This revealed by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, at the decoration of newly promoted Deputy Controllers General (DCGs) of the Service in Abuja yesterday.

According to the minister, “Last year, the FSS responded to 2,845 SOS distress-calls in which 136 lives and property worth N3 trillion were lost. But the FSS was able to save 587 lives, rescue 260 persons and save property worth N18.9 trillion.

“In sum, the stock of the FSS has grown in leaps and bounds as the agency has contributed significantly to national security – in the protection of lives and property.”

He said the achievements were made possible through the interventions of the federal government between 2015 and now, noting the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration has committed more resources into the Fire Service than since its creation in 1901.

He said: “The attention and resources devoted by the Buhari administration since 2015 is more than whatever has been put into it since its establishment in 1901. Between 2015 and 2020, the Federal Government provided 106 modern firefighting trucks to the FSS.

“Last year, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) also approved (and have since been procured and deployed) N10.4 billion infrastructure upgrade comprising of 44 firefighting engines, 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines (not conventional ones) that can go into the nooks and crannies to respond to distress-calls and 20 basic life support ambulances.

Also, 17 firefighting officers were sent to Belarus for advanced trainer-training course. These officers are the master trainers that will be training other officers on modern firefighting, disaster and emergency management.”

Aregbesola commended the former Controller General of the Service, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim, for his visionary leadership and invaluable contribution to the service, saying he will miss working with him.

“I must not fail to commend and thank the erstwhile CG, Ibrahim Liman, for his innovation, industry and perspicacity. He is the human instrument of the revolutionary changes at the FSS.

“His capacity to grasp issues and policies and make them actionable is legendary. I will miss working with him. I thank him for his invaluable services to the nation through the FSS. I pray that he will be happy and fulfilled in retirement and have resounding success in his endeavours.”

The minister condemned the rising incidents of criminals, hoodlums and touts who attack firemen and their equipment while attending to fire emergencies, stating that the Service has now developed capacity to effectively contain and deter them.

He said: “One sad reoccurring phenomenon is touts and miscreants attacking firemen and their equipment whenever they respond to fire emergencies. This is deplorable and totally condemned. For this purpose, we have worked out modalities on armed escorts accompanying firemen on assignment, for the protection of their lives and the equipment.”

Aregbesola congratulated the newly decorated DCGs, stating that DCG Karibo Samson will continue to lead in acting capacity until a substantive Controller General is appointed.

He said: “I will like to congratulate the newly appointed Acting CG and DCGs being decorated today – Karibo Samson, Jaji Olola Abdulganiyu, Agunloye Teslim Oluokun and Agu Callistus Kanny (rtd). Samson will mount the saddle of the service in acting capacity until a substantive CG is appointed.

“It is of particular interest to me when the Acting CG said he joined the service as a fireman. It means the service is an equal opportunity employer; every fireman has the potential to become the CG.”

Speaking at the event, the Secretary to the Civil Defence, Correctional Fire and Immigration Services Board, CDCFIB, Hajia Rufai Ahmed, read the citations of all the newly promoted DCGs and reasons why they were promoted. She urged them to live up to the billing.

Responding on behalf of newly promoted officers, Acting CG of the Federal Fire Service, DCG Karibo Samson thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the confidence reposed in them, stating they won’t disappoint Nigerians in discharging the statutory responsibility to the public.

Also at the event were Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaibu Belgore; Hon. Commissioner Appointment and Promotion CDCFIB, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Etim Bassey (rtd); Hon. Commissioner Discipline and General Purposes CDCFIB, ACG Ado Abdullahi Ja’afar (rtd), Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, CG Abubakar Audi; Controller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service, NCoS, CG Haliru Nababa, and other invited guests.