Nigeria: Infernos - Govt to Audit Oil Tank Farms, Establish 109 New Fire Stations

24 January 2021

Worried by the growing loss of private and public assets to infernos in the last 12 months and as part of renewed efforts to reduce fire incidents in the country, the federal government has concluded plans to establish fire stations across the nation's 109 senatorial districts.

This was as it disclosed that it had established a technical group to assess oil tank farm safety and management in Nigeria with a view to mitigating disasters arising from oil tank farm explosions, especially in the South West and South-South.

It would be recalled that the Federal Fire Service (FFS) recently revealed how it saved 1,453 lives in 2020 alone, and property worth N1.35 trillion, adding that it responded to 3, 555 fire calls while the country lost property worth N32.12 billion in the year under review.

This is aside the loss of other valuable resources that cannot be quantified in monetary terms.

A document obtained from the National Fire Statistics/ Data Collection Centre of the Federal Fire Service revealed that while public or government buildings recorded 543 incidents, private dwellings recorded 1,382 fire incidents. Also affected were educational establishments, shops, hotels, event centres, and others.

According to the service, 574 fire incidents were caused by faulty electrical equipment, 246 by power surges, 51 by candles, 181 by cigarette stubs and bush fires, 404 by accident and arson as well as several others

The controller -general of the FFS, Dr Liman Alhaji Ibrahim, said recently that to help stem this national ordeal, the service planned to purchase 89 fire fighting trucks made up of 44 water tenders, 15 ambulances, 15 water tankers, and 15 rapid intervention vehicles.

Ibrahim who regretted the lack of adequate investment in fire safety by some state governments said, "Imagine a state of over four million people with very few fire safety personnel. Obviously, that is grossly insufficient".

He urged Nigerians to adhere to the fire safety code in order to stem the tide of fire incidents in the country and assist fire fighters to easily put out fires during emergencies.

The service which recorded significant improvement in the maintenance and upgrading of fire fighting resources since the inception of the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, highlighted some of the successes recorded under the watch of the current CG to include the establishment of six additional training schools, bringing the number of Federal Fire Service Training Schools to eight in the country.

He said, "We have ensured effective functioning of the six newly established Zonal Commands in Yola, Sokoto, Minna, Owerri, Asaba and Oshogbo; recruitment and training of over 2000 newly employed personnel as well as the promotion of 1, 276 officers in the 2019 promotion exercise.

"I can boldly say that we have commissioned and deployed 36 state-of-the-art fire fighting trucks across the six geo-political zones to complement the state fire services operations and reduced response time to fire and other related emergencies and effected the rehabilitation and renovation of the service headquarters in Abuja.

"We also recorded significant improvement in the upgrade of infrastructural projects at the National Fire Academy, Sheda. These include: construction of access road, female hostel, breathing apparatus gallery, flood rescue rop, fire house ready for commissioning as well as those located in the geo-political zones of the country," he said.

Other landmarks achievements he said were the establishment of eight National Fire Data Repository Centre (NPDRC) across the six geo-political zones of the country to enhance speedy response to emergency calls; deployment of fire fighters' tunic worth N6.5m to Bauchi and Kebbi state governments and synergizing with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to improve and integrate the service communication with 112.

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