The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has called on building approving authorities at the state and federal levels to always approach the fire services before approving building plans.
The minister lamented that many buildings in the country had no consideration for fire and other disasters, adding that this had posed a great challenge to firefighters.
He spoke during the decoration of the Controller General of Federal Fire Service, Abdulganiyu Jaji, in Abuja on Thursday.
Aregbesola said, “One of the challenges of fire management in our society is that buildings hardly have consideration for fire and other disasters in conception.
“Such necessary things like smoke and fire alarm, a body of water, fire hydrants, assembly points and trained in-situ first responders are hardly present in public and high rise buildings.
“The building approving authorities should refer public and high rise buildings to the Federal Fire Service and the State Fire Service for safety and fireproofing before building plans are approved.”
The minister also said the Fire Service planned to have six fire fighting aircraft across its bases, adding that this would help combat large scale fires which had been a major challenge for the Federal Fire Service.
He said, “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 Nigerian Air Force to use their planes to waterbomb fires of that nature from the air. It is my sincere hope that you will see this through. Our projection is to have our own aircraft in the six zonal bases.”
Aregbesola, however, directed armed officers accompanying personnel of the Federal Fire Service to be ruthless against those who attack either equipment or personnel responding to fire outbreaks.
“We continue to receive the unfortunate report of hoodlums attacking our officers and damaging their equipment at disaster sites, in the cause of performing their duties. Armed escorts will now be accompanying fire officers to deter these antisocial elements. They would be ruthless to anybody who wants to attack our officers and equipment,” he said.