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Committee canvasses overhaul of Federal Fire Service operations

Published by Guardian on Wed, 08 Feb 2012

AMID growing concern over the non-existence of a virile fire service, the Ministerial Committee on Federal Fire Service (FFS) has called on the Federal Government to restructure the agency towards having a well-equipped infrastructure and trained personnel to enforce building codes for high-rise structures.At a meeting between the committee members and the FFS Comptroller General, Olusegun James Okebiorun, an engineer, they canvassed for a revamp of the agency for effective service delivery.The committee said that Nigeria does not have standard equipment neither is it conforming to international best practices to meet up with the present day challenge, adding that adequate funding should be extended to the body for its mandate to thrive.According to them, equipment used in the service has been there for more than three decades without injection of newer facility to complement their task.Besides funding and facility required for an improved operation, Chairman of the Committee, Professor Femi Odekunle urged the government to engage unemployed youths in the country, as a means of addressing the manpower needs of the agency.He said: 'The agency does not have enough manpower with the technical know-how to combat fire emergency in the country. After touring some states, Nigeria cannot boast of having virile fire stations.'However, he called on the government to look in the direction of public-private partnership to enhance service delivery across the country.In his remark, the Comptroller General said that the time is ripe for the country to be confident of addressing fire emergency situations.He explained that the conventional operation of fire service was not limited to fire fighting alone, but include; rescue, paramedics which is vital to the functioning of fire service in the world, saying that the Nigerian fire service is not really operative in such areas.Stressing the need for the government to set up more fire service stations across the country, for emergency purposes, Okebiorun said these stations should not only be established but should be well equipped with both infrastructure and well trained personnel.He solicited for close collaboration between the agency and other security outfit to have emergency number that would be accessed by members of the public in cases of emergency situation.
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