The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has expressed optimism that the Federal Fire Service would up its game through swift response to distress calls during fire disasters.
The Minister also reteirated the Federal Government’s commitment to preventing fire incidents as well as creating thousands of jobs for economic prosperity.
Speaking on Wednesday at the commissioning of the 6 state-of-the-art firefighting trucks and 15 Ford Rapid Response Vehicles to boost operations of the service, Tunji-Ojo said the current administration would be working at rebranding fire service in order to expand the scope of the service.
He said, “The fire service will soon be rebranded as the Federal Fire and Rescue Service. They will be expected to collect information, assess risk in various areas, and protect the health and safety of workers.
Your vehicle’s safety must not be jeopardized. We must develop a robust, implementable, and adequately driven fire and rescue national framework.
“This framework should identify and assess the full range of foreseeable fire and rescue-related risks, make provisions for prevention and protection activities, and respond to incidents appropriately.”
The Minister added; “For any country to attain its potential, fire serve cannot be relegated. I say this to the FFS, you are a sleeping giant. The time to wake up is now.”
The Minister also promised that with the rebranding, the fire service would create more jobs for Nigerians.
He said, “Outside of the national scope, just the city of New York employs 11,000 firefighting employees, 4,274 emergency medical service employees, and 2,096 civilian employees, making a total of 17,370 employees. In the United States of America, there are 1 million and 41,200 career and volunteer firefighters as of 2020.
“Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest economies. This means we cannot continue to neglect the issue of fire service. My personal opinion, as well as my position as a minister of the interior, is that the fire service should and will be a major employer of labour in Nigeria. We are entering a new era that will foster employment through the Federal Fire Service.”
The Controller-General of Federal Fire Service, Engineer Jaji Abdulganiyu, said the fire statistics in the first and second quarters of 2023 were a testimony of a truly re-engineered Service, adding that records at the Data Repository Centre put fire call for the period at 1, 096, lives saved 111, successful rescues at 91 and total property saved at over N300 billion.
“The fire statistics reeled out will be better in the coming days, as today marks yet another important milestone in our country’s history as we are here to witness the commissioning of the state-of-the-art firefighting trucks and ford Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV),” he said.
He disclosed that before the end of the year, the Service would be deploying to major economic and social hubs across the country, saying this would go a long way to bring firefighting closer to the people, thereby reducing response time across the country.
He appreciated the Minister for his result-oriented leadership, capacity and motivation to deliver, which to a large extent has been a morale booster for officers and men of the Service.
He added that the phenomenal strategic positioning and increase in firefighting and emergency asset base under the watch of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria Fire Service.