The Federal Government has disclosed that it will soon create a unit in the Federal Fire Service known as “Fire Police”, which will provide security for fire service personnel during operations.
Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, made this known at the opening ceremony of the National Council on Fire in Jos, the Plateau State capital, on Saturday.
According to a statement issued by Blessing Lere-Adams, the ministry’s Director of Press, Aregbesola, who was represented by Shuaib Belgore, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said the decision is part of the Federal Government’s resolve to address security challenges often faced by firefighters during operations, particularly mob action by criminal elements.
The minister also said the new unit, when created, will also be mandated to checkmate the vandalism of firefighting assets in the country.
He disclosed that the new measure will be facilitated through an executive bill as the ministry is set to initiate the process of repealing the 1963 obsolete Fire Service Act and enact a new contemporary, vibrant and enforceable law.
He noted that the bill would then be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration, deliberation and passage into law.
“When critical national assets are adequately protected against consequences of huge losses due to fire incidents, these assets are saved.
“The economy is further protected because the very lean resources that would have otherwise been used to rehabilitate or reconstruct such affected infrastructure would be channelled to other areas of our national development.
“Our national archives and very sensitive information will be preserved,” he added.
Simon Lalong, Governor of Plateau State and host governor of the council, noted that the theme, “Fire Safety Management: An Imparative for National Security”, was well-conceived at a time the nation was grappling with numerous security challenges.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Professor Sonni Tyoden, condemned unnecessary attacks on firefighters during safety and rescue operations.
He, therefore, called for proper sensitisation of Nigerians on the need to embrace preventive measures to averting fire disasters in the country.