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Aregbesola tasks states, LGs to prioritise firefighting

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Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola. Photo; TWITTER/RAUFAAREFBESOLA/OGUNDIRANDOLAPO

The minister of the interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has called on states and local governments to give priority to fire rescue operations and stop depending on the federal government to save more lives and reduce fire incidences.

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Aregbesola made this known at the pulling out parade of senior officers of the service that are retiring and the commissioning of 20 newly procured Basic Life Support, (BLS), ultra-modern ambulance buses and seven firefighting trucks for onward delivery to states yesterday in Abuja.

He said that many states have left their duty of giving priority to their fire services entirely to the federal government which should not be so because the states operate autonomously and the federal only offers support.

“The state governments must make effort to ensure that local governments have the capacity to fight fire because this will reduce fire incidences and save more lives,” Aregbesola said.

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“I will therefore urge the zonal and state commands where these vehicles would be deployed to reciprocate the federal government’s gesture, to optimize and effectively use these assets to improve fire cover, enhance emergency response operations, and complement State Fire Services operations while enhancing fire safety across the country,” he said. 

Aregbesola said the newly added 20 brand new basic life support ambulance buses and seven firefighting trucks would be manned by well trained, dedicated and committed personnel.

According to him, “the equipment are part of the N10.4 billion infrastructure upgrade approved by the Federal Executive Council on March 3, comprising of 44 firefighting engines, 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines, (not conventional ones), that can go into any nook and cranny to respond to distressed calls and 20 basic life support ambulances.”

He noted that the year 2020 to 2021 has witnessed frightening fire incidents, ranging from markets to gas and pipelines fires around the country. 

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“Statistics at our disposal shows that the FFS in 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 received 4,541 fire calls from which regrettably, 158 lives were lost and property lost is estimated at N41.5 billion,” the minister said.

“The good news is that the Service within the year under review also saved about 1,275 lives, rescue about 387 persons in distress due to fire and other related emergencies while saving property worth over N3.7trillion.”

Controller-General of the Federal Fire Service, (FFS), Dr Ibrahim Liman, also said the agency had trained some of its officers in Belarus to enable the agency to meet global best practices. 

He said, “these vehicles and equipment will be distributed to the zones and I urge you all to make proper use of them and ensure their maintenance.”

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