Daily Trust (Abuja)

3 March 2010

Nigeria: Fire Disasters Are Both Natural and Man Made - Expert

interview

Badanga Ahmed Lamidi is the President, Fire Disaster Prevention and Safety Awareness Association of Nigeria, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps create awareness on the need to prevent fire disasters nationwide. Following are exerpts of an interview with Nasir Imam.

What specific contribution are you making towards the prevention of fire disaster?

I have contributed in the area of fire prevention, control and management, this initiative is conceived to promote activities /programmes that will help to reduce and mitigate the risk of fire disasters in our local and urban settlements.

The research conducted by our NGO shows significant low level of awareness on fire safety in Nigeria, less than 2% of the 140 million inhabitants of the country's population presently have the required basic fire safety knowledge.

Based on this fact, my NGO have conducted the 1st market fire campaign in Nigeria, bush burning prevention programs, youth violence and arson fire prevention programme, fire safety club in Nigeria schools, vehicle Fire prevention campaigns, and represented Nigeria at international fire forum at globally levels among others.

What are the frequent causes of fire and what are the best preventive measures?

The cause of fire could be natural or manmade, In Nigeria the most frequent causes of fire are manmade as a result of human or machine error, ignorance and negligence that often lead to markets fires, industrial, residential or bush burning etc. The most preventive measures are massive awareness as well as building the appropriate legislative framework to enhance effective fire service delivery.

You recently travel to the US on a fire prevention mission; could you tell us what happened there?

The mission was to represent Nigerian at a Global Leadership Fire Conference in Chicago and Washington DC, where fire experts from over thirty eight countries converged to advocate for effective fire service delivery globally through knowledge sharing. The conference exposed me to the latest fire prevention and fire fighting techniques that has further help in my work on fire safety in Nigeria.

It is said that there is a Bill on fire prevention before the National Assembly, at what stage is if now?

The bill is currently at Committee level, public hearing has been conducted where various stakeholders have made their input and our NGO played a major role in the whole process.

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