By Victoria Onehi
The Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf has commissioned the first Metropolitan Fire Service station in Kubwa,Abuja.
The minister who had earlier commissioned the Firehouse at the National Fire Academy,Sheda,Abuja said the Metro Fire Station is positioned strategically in the suburban Kubwa District for rapid fire and rescue interventions to the community in a much shorter life-saving time.
“This beautiful edifice housing the Metropolitan Fire Station is first of its kind in the history of Nigeria. We have all gathered here today to commission one of the 13 Metropolitan Stations spread across the country and at various stages of completion. Those of you that will use it must ensure its maintenance so that it will serve the purpose and essence of the taxpayer’s money.” Aregbeshola said.
The Minister recalled that when the Administration came to power in 2015, the Federal Fire Service (FFS) was only fitfully represented in Abuja and Lagos with two functional fire engines. But the FFS is now represented in all the states of the federation with state-of-the-art firefighting and disaster management infrastructure.
“As a result of this, the Federal Government provided 106 modern firefighting trucks to the FFS. Two years ago, the Federal Government also provided infrastructure upgrade comprising of 44 firefighting engines, 15 water tankers, 15 rapid intervention fire engines and 20 basic life support ambulances.
In the same year, we commissioned an aerial firefighting equipment designed for skyscrapers in Lagos. It was the first of its kind in Nigeria. Indeed, we have grown in leaps and bounds.”he stated.
The minister however tasked the Federal Fire Service ( FFS ) to go beyound combatting fire to preventing fire outbreaks through public enlightenment and advocacy.
“The prime challenge of the FFS is on combating wildfires, bushfires and other largescale fires requiring aerial attacks. We have initiated an arrangement with the Nigeria Airforce to use their planes to waterbomb fires of that nature from the air. It is my sincere hope that the Service will see this through. Our projection is to have our own aircraft in the six geo-political zones of the country.” the minister added.
Controller General Federal Fire Service Engr Jaji O. Abdulganiyu used the opportunity to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeshola for providing a level playing ground for the Service not only by rejuvenating the system but inspiring/challenging officers and men to believe that change is possible.
“Today marks an important milestone in our country’s history as we witness the commissioning of the Firehouse at Sheda, completion and commissioning of the first of the 13 approved Metropolitan fire stations across the nation. This is an incredible achievement and I am proud of the hard work and dedication of the team that made this possible, but even more grateful most especially to the Honourable Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf who made it a reality.
“The Metropolitan Fire Station here in Kubwa is a great asset to the local community and will help to reduce the risk of fire-related incidents, serve as a hub for fire services in the region, providing support and assistance to the local community and also act as a training center for fire personnel, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to protect lives and property.”Abdulganiyu said.
The CG thanked all those involved in the construction of the fire station, from the architects to the engineers, the contractors and the fire personnel. “Your hard work and dedication have been instrumental in making this project a success.”he said.