By Adagher Tersoo
Nigeria’s Federal Fire Service has improved its response to fire incidents across the nation. Since his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2019, Comptroller-General of the Service, Liman Ibrahim, has been expanding the scope of operations of the organization, acquiring new state-of-the-art equipment and improving on the welfare of staff of the Service.
He ensures prompt response to distress call by his men and also demonstrates his willingness to protect his officials from attacks. Liman has done this by sanctioning communities that attacked officials of the Service while responding to distress calls.
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In January this year, he sanctioned Nyanya community, a suburb of Abuja, after his men were attacked while putting out a fire. Liman vowed that except the community gave assurance that such incident would never recur, the Federal Fire Service would never respond to any distress call from the area.
Though N32 billion was lost to fire in 2020 in Nigeria, the Service saved 1,453 lives and property worth N1.351 trillion. In 2020 alone, the Service under Liman acquired 36 fire-fighting trucks and created more zonal and state commands. It also promoted 1,276 of its officers. Six functional zonal offices created under him were Yola, Sokoto, Minna, Owerri, Asaba, and Osogbo.
The Service has further expanded its operations by ensuring that its offices exist in each of the 109 senatorial zones in the country. In order to further strengthen the existing offices and provide them with the facilities they need for effective services, the Service has ordered for 89 new firefighting trucks, which include 15 water tankers, 44 water tenders, 15 rapid intervention vehicles and15 ambulances. Most of the facilities have been acquired and deployed.
The Service, under Liman, commissioned another 20 new basic life support ambulance buses and seven state-of-the-art firefighting trucks recently in its drive to make the organization ranks among world’s best.
Nigerian government, through the Federal Executive Council had approved N10.4 billion for infrastructure upgrade for the organization. As part of his determination to reposition the Service, the CG is interacting with the international community and other experts that will help to improve the operations of the institution.
One of such meetings took place between the management of the Service and the Ambassador of Belarus to Nigeria Mr Vyacheslav Bril in Abuja. The Service is acquiring some of its equipment from Belarus, which the ambassador pledged would be adaptable to Nigerian climate and roads.
Mr Liman is also advocating for redesigning of markets roads in Nigeria to make them more accessible to his men during emergencies.
The CG believes in consistent enlightenment of Nigerians as ways of preventing fire and preserving the equipment of the Federal Fire Service.
Impressed by the ongoing transformation at the Service, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola had said at the launch of newly-acquired equipment for the Service earlier this month that the Federal Fire Service had made “a phenomenal transformation from a moribund department to a vibrant organisation equipped with modern and state of the art firefighting equipment.”
Mr Liman has also been full of praise to President Muhammadu Buhari who makes the transformation at the Service possible.
Adagher Tersoo, a journalist, writes from Abuja.