By Philomina Attah
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Thursday commissioned 2,200 regular cadet officers, 150 drivers and 96 new firefighting trucks for the Federal Fire Service.
He performed the function during the passing out ceremony of the new officers at the National Fire Academy, Sheda in Kwali Area Council of the FCT.
In his speech, the minister congratulated the graduating cadets and urged them to brace up for the “daunting challenges” ahead.
“To the graduating cadets, it is pertinent to remind you that the task ahead is daunting. Fire fighting is not an easy task.
“Fire fighters work in the most hostile and dangerous environment. New and emerging trends in fire-related emergencies have further enlarged the scope of the challenges the service contends with.
“Fire outbreaks due to rising infrastructure stock, new materials and technologies in the building environment, and activities of arsonists and terrorists are some of the threats the service contends with on daily basis.
“Therefore, the need for discipline, dedication and professionalism in the face of these challenges need not be overemphasised,” he said.
Aregbesola also urged the management of the agency to put in place measures and strategies for effective deployment and utilisation of the equipment.
He emphasised the need for the service to strengthen its fire prevention functions and operational capabilities through capacity building.
Mr Liman Ibrahim, the Controller General, Federal Fire Service said that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the recruitment of the personnel because of the need to reposition the service.
He added that 2,200 firefighters and the procurement of 96 modern firefighting vehicles for the service would help to strengthen the service in its mandate of quick response to emergencies.
“The service has benefited from the present government support. So far, the 40 modern firefighter trucks, 15 water tankers with firefighting capability, two mobile workshop have been delivered to the service.
“Within the limited resources available, the service has established six additional zonal commands bringing the total number to 12 all with the aim of bringing our services closer to the people and improve the response time,” he said.
He added that the service in no time would organise retreat to fashion out strategies to address challenges arising from ambiguities and gaps in the Fire Service Statute.