FEC approves N4.6 billion for new fire equipment, employment of fire fighters

FROM LEFT: Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; and President Muhammadu Buhari at the Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (2/11/16) 
8159/2/11/2016/Callistus Ewelike/BJO/NAN
FROM LEFT: Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; and President Muhammadu Buhari at the Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (2/11/16) 8159/2/11/2016/Callistus Ewelike/BJO/NAN

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved N4.6 billion for the purchase of new fire-fighting equipment to contain fire incidents in the country.

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, gave the indication at a joint State House Media briefing with the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.

Mr. Danbazau said there was an appropriation of about N5.2 billion for the purchase in the 2016 budget but the figure dropped after a no objection approval by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

“Today’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the procurement of some fire-fighting equipment.

“The last time equipment were procured was sometime in 1996.

“The equipment in the inventory today were those procured between 1985 and 1996, and since then there was no procurement.

“On assumption of duty I went round their stations and I discovered surprisingly the dearth of fire-fighting equipment.

“And with the experiences in fire incidences all over the country we discovered that 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.

“So (it is for) both equipment and training and of course the welfare of the personnel.

“This approved procurement is going to go a long way to provide the service with the necessary equipment even though this is just a start.

“We also, hoping that the 2017 budget will avail us with the opportunity to procure more equipment for the Federal Fire Service.”

Mr. Danbazau also said that the ministry was making some effort to improve on the existing facilities at the Fire Training School.

He said that the ministry intended to partner an entity involved in training of fire fighters, particularly in the oil and gas sector, to train the nation’s fire fighters and improve their capacity to carry out their services.

The minister said that since the various states possessed their separate fire services and had suffered fire incidents, the federal government would partner them on fire fighting.

Mr. Danbazau mentioned Kano, Lagos and Kebbi as states that suffered recent fire incidents, adding that the national council on fire service in Kano last month agreed to standardise fire service delivery all over the country.

He said that the meeting criticised the operation of several standards operated by each state and accepted to change the trend.

“We are moving ahead towards that and also be able to ensure that the necessary fire codes are observed by everybody,’’ he said.

The minister also hinted that NEC discussed the need to have an inter-ministerial meeting to consult with various ministries and states in order to ensure that prevention measures were carried out.

He said it was important that every building observed the building codes by having fire equipment, such as fire hydrants, for preventive measures.

“These are some of the very measures that we intent to take in the very near future to ensure that we reduce the losses and also prevent fires from happening,’’ he added.

He said that stakeholders meeting would be held with experts to enforce building codes in the country to secure the buildings and ensure that they generate their revenues for the government.

On the strengthening of the country’s fire-fighting workforce with young professionals, the minister said that all agencies under the ministry had been directed to prepare for recruitment in 2017.

“It is not just the fire service, but all the services under the ministry of interior have been directed to prepare for recruitment into the services this 2017 budget.

“This directive has been given to them couple of months back because of the realisation that they need the manpower and particularly fire service which needs a lot of energy to be able to tackle some of its challenges.

“So there is no doubt that we are going to carry out some recruitment exercises.

“But that is not to say that even the older ones who have not reached retirement age are not of any use.

“They are very useful; we need them to share their experiences with the younger ones.

“I terms of capacity building certainly we cannot do away with them.

“So there is absolutely no doubt that we are going to carry out some recruitment exercises for all the services and we want to make the fire service attractive,” said the minister.

(NAN)


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  • Gary

    A sensible investment to secure lives and properties while providing employment. Scandalous that the FEC would note that Federal Fire Service has been largely under-resourced for two decades.

  • Suleiman Alatise

    Good one, kudos.

  • dami

    But c’mon!!!
    Why is the federal government still legislating and funding a fire service in 2017!!
    This is for the states or better still local
    governments to manage and control…no matter how much they appropriate it will still always be poorly managed and funded.

    • blackdove

      Absolutely. Fire service should be handled by local governments, but you know how local governments are run in Nigeria. It is either they have zero autonomy or the states are strangulating them.

  • Okokondem

    According to this reporter,

    “The last time equipment were procured was sometime in 1996.”

    “The equipment in the inventory today were those procured between 1985 and 1996, and since then there was no procurement.”

    But then he added,

    “Mr. Danbazau said there was an appropriation of about N5.2 billion for the purchase in the 2016 budget but the figure dropped after a no objection approval by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.”

    This is the part I didn’t get….

    “…but the figure dropped after a no objection approval by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.”

    What does that mean, was there an appropriation in 2016 or was there not? What about 2015, 2014, 2013, etc.,are we to believe there were no appropriations for fire equipment for those years? If yes, what happened to the funds appropriated for those and every other year since 1996 when, according to the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, was the last time anyone in Nigeria bought a firefighting equipment, or improvement made to the facilities (firehouses.)

    PT, if you want to take credit for doing investigative journalism, dig in a little deeper, find out if appropriations were made in the intervening years between 1996 and 2017, and simply pose the question, why weren’t any procurement for firefighting equipment for the years.

    If you are reluctant or unwilling to engage in hard-hitting journalism, then don’t drop the title of ‘INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM’ in association with your reporting.

    • blackdove

      2016 budget is still in force. N5.2 earlier appropriated is now being approved for N4.6b. That means savings of N600m due to financial prudence and competitive bidding, Just like roads across the country especially SE, massive rehabilitation was carried out last by Buhari under PTF in 1995/1996/1997. I suspect that PTF must have bought the last equipments for fire service. As for non procurement of fire fighting equipments between 1996 – 2015, Adulsalami, Obasanjo & Uncle JoJo are all alive to challenge Dambazzau if he was economical with the truth. The enemies of state might be in denial, but that’s ok.

    • thusspokez

      etc.,are we to believe there were no appropriations for fire equipment for those years? If yes…

      If no, why now? Might it be because states and local governments were funding their own fire departments, until some crooks, in the Buhari government, who have been exploring for means to enrich themselves suddenly discover this opening — a Eureka moment. No doubt, old, but freshly painted fire-equipments would be acquired from Pakistan or India for the states and local governments and the crooks sharing the rest — a’ la. Dasuki.

      • Okokondem

        “If no, why now? Might it be because states and local governments were funding their own fire departments,…”

        Well, @thuss, if no, meaning there were no provisions or appropriations in the budgets of those intervening years, 1996 – 2016 as stipulated by the current Interior Minister, then there isn’t anything anyone can do about it today.

        On the other hand, if yes, meaning funds were in fact appropriated in the budget for the procurement of fire equipment in the same time period, 1996 – 2016, but according to the Interior Minister the last time there was a procurement was in 1996, then questions should be asked as to what happened to the money for those years.

        Your contention I suppose is, it doesn’t make a difference today whether or not the budgets for the intervening years, 1996 – 2017 provided funds for firefighting equipment since there was nothing to show for it, according to the minister.

        But I beg to differ. The Igbos have a proverb that says,
        “e’mevo oko otile ya ala.” Ask an Igbo friend for the interpretation.

        Basically, we Nigerians prefer to make vague references to our enormous stolen commonwealth with very little appetite or interest in finding out how, by whom, under whose leadership or administration, and what seriously can be done to either retrieve the looted wealth or prosecute the perpetrators or both. Instead, every or most Nigerians have their preferred politicians or heads of MDAs whose acts of embezzlement is either justified or in their opinion doesn’t constitute a crime against the state. With my fellow Nigerians it’s always a matter of whose ox is being gored, and that is the number one obstacle to fighting corruption.

        A financial crime committed by PDP is considered a crime until the exact same offense is committed by the APC and suddenly there’s a justification for it, and vice versa.

        What our brothers from the western region would consider a misrule and failure of leadership by a leader from the east is adjudged and heralded as a success if the same leadership is provided by a leader from the west, and vice versa.

        @Thuss, you wrote, “..Might it be because states and local governments were funding their own fire departments,…”

        You see that is part of the problem. There’s an unknown, an ambiguity that I was urging PT to explore by way of doing an expose and in depth reporting. And that is whether the federal government budget over the years appropriated funds for firefighting.

        But your suggestion that the states and local governments may have been funding their own firefighting equipments during the said years is a mere presupposition which still leaves us not knowing the truth.

        • thusspokez

          blockquote>Your contention I suppose is, it doesn’t make a difference today whether or not the budgets for the intervening years, 1996 – 2017 provided funds for firefighting equipment since there was nothing to show for it, according to the minister.My argument, albeit a conjecture, is that since Nigeria became a democracy, it is expected that states and local governments — not federal government — would fund their own fire departments. These states and local governments spend trillions of Naira on cars for government officials, why is fire-engine the federal government’s responsibility? It shouldn’t.

          My other argument is that the military junta did centralised everything. In democracy, states and local government make their own decisions. However, some crooks in the Buhari government think that what went under military government still applies in democracy. Of course, driven by their self-interest, these crooks have been pushing for money to buy the fire-engines. Everyone knows that big projects is a cover for politicians to embezzle funds.

          BTW in response to your earlier question: “What does that mean, was there an appropriation in 2016 or was there not? ” I found the following news report to throw some light on the matter:

          Federal Fire Service To Procure N5.5bn Fire Engines
          Posted by ADMIN on JULY 6, 2016

          The Federal Fire Service (FFS) said it has concluded plans to procure 55 fire engines worth N5.5 billion for the effective operations of the service. Mr Joseph Anebi, the Controller General of the service, stated this on Sunday in Abuja during an interaction with newsmen. He said that the service had suffered neglect over the years in terms of equipment procurement.

          “ I can say that the newest equipment we have is 28 years old, that is to tell you that the service was neglected, “he said.
          He said that before he assumed the leadership of the service, there was no proposal in the 2015 budget for the procurement of fire-fighting equipment…”.

          “Anebi commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the approval of funds for the service to procure equipment.”

          —sources: breakingcomng

          Perhaps this is what the minister, in his poor grammar, meant by:

          “.but the figure dropped after a no objection approval by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.”

          In other words, the figure was cut from N5.5 billion to N5.2 billion. And there you have it: there was no budget for 2015 and maybe, since the end of military rule.

  • Spyman29

    Nice one from the Federal Government. I hope the recruitment will be as fair as the Police recruitment

  • thusspokez

    The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved N4.6 billion for the purchase of new fire-fighting equipment to contain fire incidents in the country.

    Why is the federal government purchasing of fire-fighting equipments for states ans local governments? No problem if it is bought for Abuja the federal capital.

    Is this not the responsibility of state and local governments? What do these governments do with their funds if it is the federal government responsible to equip ans fund their fire departments. The Senate should block this expenditure..

    I am sure, some bunch of crooks in the Buhari administration has found an opening to embezzle money but on the pretext of buying large number of equipments — most probably ‘used’ equipments, freshly painted from Pakistan or India.

    “The equipment in the inventory today were those procured between 1985 and 1996, and since then there was no procurement.

    This was under a different constitution and very centralised and despotic military juntas rule. It should now be left to the states and local government to set-up and manage their fire departments. These are the basic responsibilities — like bin collections — of state and local governments.

  • International games

    This story just shows you how BACKWARD we are. Chai! Chai! In 2017 Nigerian Federal Government is talking about buying Fire Truck? Something that is the business of Local Government?
    This is unbelievable. This Federal government should have only three jobs. Military Defense. Customs. Foreign Relations. Everything else should be done THROUGH or BY States.