The Federal Fire Service (FFS) can said to be among the few earliest government agencies in Nigeria established in 1901 by the British colonial regime before independence as a Unit within the Lagos Police Service Department to prevent and combat fire outbreaks in the Government Reserved Areas of Lagos Colony.
However, the agency has in recent years gained paradigm shift under the able leadership of its current Controller General, Dr Liman Alhaji Ibrahim. Deshi Munkuwe writes.
To start with, Nigeria’s Federal Fire Service was formed and incorporated alongside the then Lagos Police and was known as the Lagos Police Fire Brigade; this tells more of the necessity and paramount need of the agency’s services to Nigerians and non-nigerians.
In 1963, an Act of Parliament known as the Fire Service Act of 1963 was enacted; all the officers and men serving in the Lagos Police Fire Brigade were transferred to the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs as officers and men of the Federal Fire Service.
The Service is therefore a paramilitary organisation, under the Supervision of the Minister of the Federal Ministry of Interior, with the Controller-General as its Head.
Nigeria’s Fire Service has the statutory responsibility for rescue, fire prevention, mitigation, firefighting as well as paramedical and information services.
In 2007, the Federal Government reform of the Fire Services in the country redefined the mandate of the Service as Regulation of the State and Private Fire Services, Prescription and monitoring of standards for the promotion of fire education, fire prevention, safety, mitigation and investigation, Ensuring effective discharge of the functions of the State Fire Services, Provision of policy direction for the Nation’s Fire Services, Ensuring the standardization of fire and rescue equipment manufactured or imported into Nigeria, as well as Encouraging the establishment by the State Fire Services of adequate number of fire stations and fire posts, and Establishing the National Fire Academy to meet the training requirements of fire fighters for the Coordination of national emergencies in the country.
As expected, the agency has since inception been able to meet up to its mandate to extinguish, control, prevent and rescue victims during an emergency and to save regardless of numerous challenges.
However, in the current dispensation of Dr Liman Alhaji Ibrahim MifireE as Controller-General of Federal Fire Service (FFS) which took effect from 29th March, 2019, the agency has gained remarkable paradigm shift towards repositioning, redefining and changing the narrative of the agency for a better, efficient and quality body.
Relentlessly, since assumption of office as the pilot of the Firefighter’s ship, CGF Liman Alhaji Ibrahim has shown outstanding and pragmatic efforts in changing the narratives of the agency to a wider, active and improved body through palpable reforms and initiatives.
In essence, Nigerians are witness to CGF Ibrahim’s tangible efforts in 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.
Looking at the obvious nationwide need of the services of the firefighters and the limited offices, the Federal Fire Service under Liman Ibrahim has so far established states offices added to the 6 additional zonal offices earlier planted aimed at boosting service delivery across the country.
Recalled, before the appointment of the current CGF, the Federal Fire Service had its presence in only Abuja and Lagos and the Six Geo-political zones; we have Zone A comprising of Benue, Nasarawa & Plateau with headquarters in Makurdi, Zone B comprising of Katsina, Jigawa & Kaduna with Headquarters in Kano; Zone C comprising Bauchi, Yobe & Borno with Headquarters in Bauchi; Zone D comprising Enugu, Ebonyi, & Anambra with Headquarters in Enugu; Zone E comprising Akwa-Ibom, Rivers & Cross River with Headquarters in Uyo and; Zone F comprising Lagos, Ogun, & Oyo with Headquarters in Lagos.
However, in his pragmatic effort, CGF Ibrahim has ensured the Service expanded its operational activities by establishing six additional Zonal Headquarters thus; Zone G -Niger, Kogi & Kwara, with headquarters in Minna; H -Sokoto, Zamfara & Kebbi with headquarters in Sokoto; I-Adamawa, Taraba & Gombe, with headquarters in Yola; J -Owerri & Abia, with headquarters in Owerri; K-Delta, Edo & Bayelsa, with headquarters in Asaba; L-Osun, Ondo & Ekiti with headquarters in Osogbo.
These Zonal Headquarters are equipped with a minimum of two firefighting trucks and manned by well trained and experienced firemen. This, according to Ibrahim, was done within the limited resources available, which will bring services closer to the people and improve the response time.
Apparently, the Federal Fire Service under the current leadership of CGF Ibrahim has twelve (12) zonal commands, thirty six (36) states presence & location and one hundred and four (104) modern fire appliances all in an effort to mandate of the agency.
Indeed, these are evidence the continuous outstanding and pragmatic efforts of CG Ibrahim in changing the narratives of the agency to a wider, active and improved body. Since assumption in office as the pilot of the Firefighter’s ship has shown readiness to the agency, reinforcing more proactive and preventive measures, provision of more trucks and equipment, training and re-training of officers aimed at capacity building and enhanced service delivery.
As in other zones, the Federal Fire Service Commissioned Zone (K) Command Headquarters in Asaba. His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa played host to the Controller General of Federal Fire Service, Dr. Ibrahim Liman (CGF) MifireE who was ably represented by the Deputy Controller General Quitus G. Azogu (DCGF) in Asaba for the commissioning of two new trucks and take off of Zone (K) Command Headquarters situated in Asaba, Delta State.
The zone comprises Delta, Edo, and Bayelsa States respectively. While Commissioning and inspecting the fire appliances, Governor Okowa says only an effective fire-fighting service in the country could check the rising incidents of fire.
Okowa, however, advised that it was important for speedy efforts to be made to curtail the extent of damage that any fire outbreak might cause, adding that an effective fire service would check such incidents. The donation of these firefighting trucks and the choice of Asaba as the Zonal Headquarters for Zone K is a welcome development.
“We have an efficient fire service in the state and this addition which will see the FFS playing complementary roles will be of great assistance to us as it will help to attend to vast areas in the state, bearing in mind that we have a lot of urban areas in Delta.” Okowa said.
He thanked FFS for choosing Delta as Zonal Headquarters and assured that his administration would cooperate with them so they could succeed in their activities.
Earlier, the Comptroller-General of FFS, Dr Ibrahim Liman, said that the FFS as the apex fire-fighting organisation in Nigeria, monitored developments in the fire services across the country. It also evaluates the strength and quality of firefighters in the public sector.
“We know that only a few of the states that own fire services have done fairly in this regard and Delta stands out from the records available to us. We are aware that your administration has sustainably rehabilitated and upgraded firefighting equipment and infrastructure across the state”, Liman said.
In his effort to motivate and ensure safety and protection of firefighters, CGF Liman ensured increase in the hazard allowance of officers. There is also provision of fire fighter suits and service uniforms for the staff, provision of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and other firefighting aids for protection and safety firefighters.
On the other hand, through tireless efforts, CGF Ibrahim embarked on ensuring more Federal Fire Service Training Schools. In this regard, CGF Ibrahim not too long secured 10 hectares of land from Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina for FFS Training School.
The Governor allocated the 10 hectares of land to the Federal Fire Service (FFS) for the building of its training school for the North-west geo-political zone. Masari when the FFSs Controller General, Liman Alhaji Ibrahim visited him to discuss modalities for the take-off of the training school.
The governor who said the land is located in Kankia Local Government Area of the state immediately handed over the Statutory Right of Occupancy document to the CGF.
Masari, who was full of appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the transformation of the Federal Fire Service promised to look into all the requests made by the CGF.
“I join you to express my gratitude to Mr. President for making the Federal Fire Service functional. And I also want to appreciate the Honourable Minister of Interior and the Controller General of the Federal Fire Service for finding Katsina State suitable for the siting of the Training School and I can assure you that all appeals will be looked into,” he said.
Looking at the giant strive by Nigeria’s Fire Service in accomplishing its mandate, a bill was recently presented in the federal House of Representatives on amendment of the fire service act to include flooding, building collapse, air/road accidents, others as emergencies. A bill seeking to amend the fire service act of 1963 and include other natural disasters as emergencies to be given urgent attention has passed for second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill is titled “An Act to repeal the Fire Service Act Cap. F29 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and enact the Fire and Emergency Service Act 2021 to provide for additional powers for effective service delivery; and for related matters”. The non-fire occurrences listed by the bill needing emergency rescue included flooding, building collapse, air and road accidents and other natural disasters. The sponsor of the bill is Rep. Adejoro Adeogun, West Federal Constituency of Ondo State.
Undisputedly, the gigantic strive to transformation and repositioning of Federal Fire Service under the able leadership of CGF Ibrahim is obvious and recommendable. The agency recorded very few fire outbreaks in recent time curtsy the paradigm ship. Consequently, firefighting activities envisaged by statutes which include the prevention, control and extinguishment of any kind of fire is achieved.
Noteworthy, under the present administration, the agency has recorded increase in availing necessary equipment for active service delivery, training and re-training of staff, etc. At this juncture, Nigerians are witness to the tremendous achievement of the Federal Fire Service under the present leadership of CGF Liman Alhaji Ibrahim.