CGF Ibrahim: The Firefighting Game Changer

…..Moving Federal Fire Service to the Next Level
The well-deserved appointment of Dr Liman Alhaji Ibrahim as the Controller General, Federal Fire Service has contended every argument to the fact that all what Nigeria’s Fire Service needed was the right man for the job. The managing editor, Capitalwatch Media; Deshi Munkuwe takes a view at some of the tremendous impacts recorded so far in the agency under the able leadership of CGF Liman Alhaji Ibrahim.

In his words, Colin Powell asserted; “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

Certainly, Nigerians can never be ignorant of the state and nature of the Federal Fire Service before the emergence of CGF Liman Ibrahim who came on board as pilot of the firefighting ship appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.

Recall, during his decoration, CGF Ibrahim thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for saddling him with the responsibility as the new CGF. In his words; “I promise to do my best and will not disappoint Mr President with this task. I will do my best to move with Mr President to the next level with the fire service”.

This piece of work is aimed at tracing in summary the factual fulfillment of the above words of commitment to Mr President Buhari and Nigerians by the firefighting general.

According to Orrin Woodward; “Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” Indeed, CGF Ibrahim has proven beyond words that he is a great leader who has in no small measure ensured total transformation in both human and material resources of the Federal Fire Service to the next level of greatness.

Most recently after several of its kind in the past, CGF Ibrahim announced the promotion of over 1,276 officers of the agency, among which is the current agency’s active Public Relation Officer (PRO) SF Ugo Huan. In a statement signed in Abuja by the PRO, the FFS’s Controller General made the announcement while decorating his personal staff at the national headquarters.

The CGF used the opportunity to call on the newly promoted officers to be more committed and dedicated to their responsibilities bearing in mind that “to whom much is given, much is expected.” He added that the management under his leadership will continue to provide the enabling environment for staff to give their best in moving the Service forward.

It is obvious to attest to the fact that on assumption of office as the pilot of the Firefighter’s ship, CG Liman Alhaji Ibrahim has shown outstanding and pragmatic efforts in changing the narratives of the agency to a more wider, active and improved result driving body through palpable reforms and initiatives. These are visible in his effort by “expanding the capacity of the agency, reinforcing more proactive and preventive measures, provision of more and modern trucks with equipment, training and re-training of officers aimed at improving mechanisms in managing the activities of Federal Fire Service.

Indeed, CGF Ibrahim considered strengthening of the state fire services as a matter of necessity and importance, “when I assumed office, one of my major goals was to see how the State Fire Service can be strengthened for effectiveness and efficiency and to achieve that I have been reaching out to state governors, supporting and encouraging them to do the needful about their fire services. I also believe that a strengthened state fire service complemented by our presence in the zones will go a long way in addressing the gaps in fire service delivery across the country,” he stated.

Giving the needed attention also on capacity building of personnel of the Service, CGF Ibrahim approved the Personnel Professional Training and Courses abroad for men of the Service as part of efforts in ensuring that the Nigeria’s firefighting services meet up with international standard to be equipped with modern knowledge and skills as firefighters for quality service delivery in a country where the rampant cases of fire outbreak has been on the rise over the years.

The agency under the able leadership of CGF Ibrahim has trained over 300 staff within the country in FALCK Atlantic Training Centre, Ipara Ogun State, and National Fire Academy Sheda where a consultant was engaged in training personnel on building collapse, as well as other professional training in ICT, Public Relations amongst others.

“Over 40 officers have been sent for professional training abroad in South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America and Dubai. Fifteen of our Officers have just returned from a trip to the United Kingdom after attending an International Disaster Management Course.”

Responding to an interview question in his office by Capitalwatch Media on his earlier challenges before the achievements as CGF, Ibrahim said, “I came on board in 2016 as the CG. Though a lot had been done by the present administration, challenges are still staring us in the face, funding releases is a major challenge. Of course, I have a whole lot of plans to turn the service around, my major concern was the fact that as a Fire Service saddled with the mandate of fighting fire I saw the need to address the deficiencies in firefighting assets. Here, I mean equipment and firefighters as well as manpower development.”

“I began to look at this challenges one after the other, including the issue of stagnation of staff due for promotion, which I was able to address in a timely fashion.”

“Very key on what we have done since I took over is the procurement of firefighting engines, like I said from the budgetary provision of 2016 we were able to procure water tankers, firefighting engines and other utility vehicles. We have spread our operational command to about 12 States in the Federation, as we speak we have our presence in all the six geopolitical zones of the nation with firefighting engines and water tankers deployed to all the zones, as well as men to man this firefighting trucks.” He stated.

The firefighting pilot further said, “Our National Fire Academy (NFA) Sheda which is now affiliated with the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) to run Post Graduate course in Disaster Risk Management is also doing very well; we established 6 additional training schools to compliment the ones in Lagos and Abuja. We are developing a National Policy on fire; we have been able to improve the infrastructure of the National Fire Academy Sheda, the headquarters and Lagos training school.”
“We’ve done much in the area of promotion; since I came on board over 1000 staff have enjoyed promotion among who are many that have suffered stagnation for more than 10 years, so we are doing our best to ensure that the fire service meets international standard.” He added.

CGF Ibrahim maintained that the additional established zonal offices were to boost service delivery across the country. “The essence of the spread is to deliver quality firefighting services, improve the response time to emergencies and complement efforts of the state fire services. When I came; we had presence only in Abuja, Lagos and the six geo-political zones. We believe that the new zones will widen our reach and strengthen us to do more.”

“I want to believe that a strengthened state fire service complemented by our presence in the zones will go a long way in addressing the gaps in fire service delivery across the country,” he stated.

Also in his effort to enhance knowledge capacity in the Fire Service Sector/capacity building of men and women of the agency for emergency responses, CG Ibrahim has gained the Federal Fire Service approval for establishing six (6) additional training schools in the six (6) geopolitical zones of the country. He said the Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has approved six States where this training Schools will be situated, they include “Katsina in the North West, Borno in the North East, Kwara in the North Central, Osun in the South West, Abia in the South East and Cross River in the South South.”

Indeed, the Controller has since commenced collaboration with State Governments of these respective states for sitting, construction and takes off of the training schools.

According to him, the training schools will provide training for not just the Federal Fire Service personnel but the State Fire Services and other Fire Services within and outside the country.

In his wisdom to ensuring advanced and professional skills amongst his personnel, Ibrahim supported collaboration with Nigerian Defence Academy to run postgraduate Diploma and a Master’s Degree in Disaster and Risk Management which is aimed at broadening the knowledge of members for more effective service delivery.

In his words, “in order to be abreast with current issues, the National Fire Academy is constantly in collaboration with world renowned training institutions to ac quire knowledge. In view of the aforementioned, the academic collaboration between Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and the Federal Fire Service is a proof that the strategic alliance and strength of both parties will be exploited in line with international best practices for conventional academic work and research programmes,”CG said.

Consequently, the agency has recorded very few fire outbreaks in recent times. The CG affirmed to this recently in a press briefing admitted a reduce to fire outbreak, adding that more efforts were have been put in place in ensuring that the country is free from fire outbreaks.

So far, the Federal Fire Service under the leadership of CGF Liman Ibrahim has no doubt ensured as its sole mandate the safety of lives and property of Nigerians by extinguishing, control and prevention of fire outbreak through Regulation, Training, Enforcement, Public Enlightenment Programmes and impact reduction during emergencies through adequate preparedness remained as its top most priority.

Certainly, the personality of CGF Liman Alhaji Ibrahim is one which history came across and never can let go but to make part of the lists of prominent leaders who made pragmatic, outstanding and distinct achievements in making the unrealistic a reality towards effective service delivery to Nigeria and Nigerians.