FEC approves N4.6bn for fire equipment
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Accidental discharge from the weapon of one of the security operatives at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has left a female staff injured.
The incident happened shortly after the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Administrative Reception.
The security agent, who one of the staff said was off duty, was attempting to empty the weapon when it went off and injured him and the woman.
The female worker, who was conveyed to the State House Medical Centre in Asokoro by one of her colleagues, was injured on her thigh, stomach and a part of her back. She is said to be responding to treatment at the medical centre.
Meanwhile, the first FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N4.6 billion for the purchase of fire fighting equipment as well as the upgrading of fire stations.
Interior minister, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, who briefed newsmen, alongside the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the last time equipment was procured for the service was sometimes in 1996.
“The equipment in the inventory today were procured between 1985 and 1996, and since then, there was no procurement. So, on assumption of duty, I went round their stations and I discovered, surprisingly, that there was a dearth of fire fighting equipment. And with our experiences on fire incidences all over the country, we discovered such a situation should no longer hold; and, therefore, we reflected that in the 2016 budget, with the aim of equipping the fire service and also improve its capacity. These include equipment, training and, off course, the welfare of personnel,” he said.
“So, this approved procurement is going to go a long way to provide the service with the necessary equipment. This is just a start; like I said, the last time it was procured was in 1996. We are also hoping that the 2017 budget will avail us the opportunity to procure more equipment for the Federal Fire Service and, of course, the fire training school. I have visited there and I’m making some efforts to also improve on the existing facilities,” he added.
Dambazzau said the ministry would partner other stakeholders, especially those in oil and gas sector to improve the capacity of personnel.
“In addition, we intend to partner an entity in reference to training in fire services, particularly, in oil and gas sector. And that way, we will be able to improve the capacity of the personnel to be able to carry out its services, knowing that the various ethnic states, too, have their individual fire services; and most of these fire incidents happen in most of those states, like Kano Kebbi and Lagos,” Dambazzau said.
The Interior Minister promised that government will, henceforth, enforce the fire code for public buildings.
“These are some of the measure we intend to take in the very near future to ensure that we reduces the lapses and prevent fire from happening,” he said.