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Emergency: FG to invest more in firefighting, make fire service first responder

The Federal Government has said it will decentralize emergency responses, making the Federal Fire Service (FFS), a first responder.

The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, who disclosed this when he inspected facilities at the headquarters of the FFS in Abuja, said the government would invest more in firefighting.

Tunji-Ojo, who highlighted the importance of firefighting to the security architecture of the country, said the Service was not optional but mandatory.

“We will do everything humanly possible to decentralize the emergency response system. I am happy to see the mobile trucks. If we have more in our economic zones, our markets as first responders, it will be good. It will be very disastrous if there is a fire in the markets and there is no immediate response.

“The Federal Fire Service is a very important agency of government. No matter what you build, you need to pray that you do not have problems with fire. We cannot do without you firefighters. You are indispensable. Your service is not optional. It is mandatory and it is in the service of the nation,” he said.

Tunji-Ojo hailed firefighters for the various sacrifices they have made in the cause of duty, noting that many have lost lives and limbs.

“We appreciate your sacrifices and they will never go unnoticed. We are grateful for what you are doing. We are indebted for your service and we can only continue to live in the debt of gratitude. We thank you for the lives and property that you have saved and for your contributions to national development and the economy.

“Because we appreciate what you are doing, we appreciate how significant and how integral your work is, we will partner with you. We will support you and make sure by the grace of God and the support of Mr. President, you will occupy your pride of place.

“In terms of capacity building, our training schools will no longer be dumping grounds. We will train and retrain our officers in modern techniques and equip them accordingly.

The Minister, however, charged officers and men of the Service to brace up to the challenges of the modern era.

Earlier, Controller General of Fire CGF, Engr. Abdulganiyu Jaji said the Service has greatly improved from what it used to be barely a decade ago.

On the challenges facing the Service, the CGF listed inadequate manpower, attack on firefighters, housing needs for personnel, firefighting infrastructural gap, budgetary constraints and lack of a befitting corporate headquarters among others.