The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has called for the review of the law prohibiting bush burning and the mechanism for its enforcement in Nigeria.
The Minister made this call at the Pull-Out Ceremony of the Retired Controller General of the Federal Fire Service (FFS), Dr. Liman Ibrahim Alhaji at the National Fire Academy, Sheda, Abuja on Thursday, February 10, 2022.
“The law prohibiting the lazy practice of bush burning should be reviewed and made more relevant to the time. This should include the mechanism for its enforcement. I believe strongly that it should be included in the mandate of forest rangers. The economic loss and environmental damage due to this obnoxious practice are huge and incalculable. An end must come to it,” the Minister said.
Aregbesola further called the FFS to engage the mass media in educating and sensitizing the public in the prevention and handling of fire incidents. “It is very critical for the service therefore to intensify its advocacy campaign on fire prevention. This, they say, is better than cure. Though there are naturally occurring fire incidents, but most fire incidents are man-made – accidentally, negligently or on purpose. These can be prevented mostly if there is enough awareness. Nigerians should be made to know the various categories of fire and what the first responders should do before the arrival of fire officers.
“This is the time of the year that fire incidents occur at a higher rate and most items are combustible. The service should therefore engage the mass media to sensitise Nigerians on the need to be careful with handling fire and what to do if there is fire incident. Conscious efforts should be made to publicise your contact details so that Nigerians will have handy sufficient information on how to contact the service in case of fire.
The Minister noted that the biggest challenge of firefighting in Nigeria today is aerial firefighting campaign for bush fires or industrial fires like what was witnessed in a departmental store in Abuja recently, and called on the Federal Fire Service to intensify efforts at collaborating with other relevant security agencies and other levels of governments in this regard. “For this, the service should accelerate the rapprochement with the Nigerian Air Force on the use of airplane for bombing wild and large fire with huge packs of suppressants to kill fire from the air,” the Minister stated.
He continued, “I am repeating the call for state governments to invest more in firefighting. It is a critical social service that must not be neglected. The FFS is only complementing state efforts, not to take over their responsibility.”
Speaking further, the Minister congratulated Dr. Liman Ibrahim Alhaji for successfully completing his tenure and etching his name in gold in firefighting and service to the nation and mankind by his notable contributions in the expansion of the Federal Fire Service. He therefore urged the Acting Controller General and the management of the Service to build on his achievements to make FFS the best in the African continent.
Earlier in his valedictory speech, Dr. Liman who was visibly delighted as he recalled his progression during his firefighting career thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve as he encouraged the officers and men of the service to aspire to be the best firefighting service in Africa.
In attendance were the representatives of the Governors of Niger State, Bauchi State, Former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Service Chiefs from the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Airforce and Board Members of the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board (CDCFIB).