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Armed escorts to accompany fire officers, says Aregbesola

By Tina Abeku, Abuja
01 May 2022   |   4:17 am
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that personnel of Federal Fire Service, (FFS) will henceforth be accompanied by armed escorts whenever they are responding to emergencies...

Rauf Aregbesola

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has said that personnel of Federal Fire Service, (FFS) will henceforth be accompanied by armed escorts whenever they are responding to emergencies, due to the growing attacks on fire men by hoodlums while attending to fire emergencies.

Aregbesola made this known during the swearing in ceremony and decoration of the newly appointed substantive Controller-General (CG) of the FFS, Jaji Abdulganiyu, in Abuja.

“We have continued to receive the unfortunate reports of hoodlums attacking our officers in the cause of performing their duties and damaging their equipment at disaster sites. Armed escorts will now be accompanying fire officers to deter these antisocial elements.

“I appealed to people not to form a crowd around fire disaster sites. Only trained first responders and those trained in emergency services should be there. They are not sightseeing centres. The crowd hinders firefighting and rescue efforts, as it contributes to delay and possible loss in lives and property,” he said.

He revealed that the Federal Government has spent N10.4b for the upgrade of fire infrastructure across the country in the last one year to tackle growing fire emergencies.

The minister claimed that the total investment made since the coming of the Buhari-led government in 2015 has surpassed the total invest made in the sector since the inception of the FFS in 1901.

Urging the new CG to give priority to fire prevention, media advocacy and education, he said that last year, the FFS responded to 2,845 distress calls, in which it saved 587 lives, rescued 260 persons and saved property worth N18.9trn.

In his acceptance speech, the incoming CG promised to work with all personnel to take the service to greater heights, as well as improve staff welfare. He promised to continue from where his predecessor stopped to ensure continuity and efficiency.

Also, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Shuaib Belgore, said the CG should know that more is expected of him as his predecessor has set a higher bar that must be improved on.