May 28, 2024

FG to repeal obsolete 1963 Fire Service Act, says Interior minister

Suleja Prison escape

By Omeiza Ajayi

The Federal Government has disclosed of plans to repeal the 1963 Fire Service Act, describing it as obsolete in the scheme of things.

This was as it said it would in the next few years being the establishment of fire service academies in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, disclosed this on Tuesday at the groundbreaking for the remodelling and upgrading of the National Fire Academy, Sheda in Kwali, Abuja.

According to him, the job of the Federal Fire Service FFS in the security architecture of nations had expanded over the years beyond firefighting to include rescue operations and security tasks.

The minister lamented that the service had been a sleeping giant over the years, adding that it was time for it to give to Nigerians the fire and rescue services they deserved.

He said; “It is a constitutional duty of government to protect lives and property. So, what you have been set out to do by your Establishment Statutes is a function of the Constitution.

“We will be working hard to see to the repeal and enactment of a Fire and Rescue Service Act. This present law of 1963 is obsolete.

“The scope of fire service all over the world in 2024 is different from what it was in 1963 and we cannot continue to be held down to the apron of the past when we have an opportunity to create a future that we will all be proud of.

“For us, your responsibility is not just to combat and prevent fires. Your responsibilities go beyond that. You ought to be the first responders in case of any emergency.

“You can only give what you have and that is why the government is going all the way to equip you with the required knowledge not just for the Nigerian market but also to be an exporter of rescue knowledge to the rest of Africa”.

On the nee project, the minister said the completion timeline is a year from now, adding that President Bola Tinubu will commission it as part of activities to mark his second year in the office.

He said after the completion of the project, the government will establish a fire academy in each of the six geo-political zones in the country, adding that the target was to bring the private sector into the fire service and rescue industry.

“It is only when we do that that over 200 million Nigerians can have the kind of rescue assurance that they need,” he said.

Earlier, Controller General of Fire, Jaji Olola Abdulganiyu, commended the federal government for the decision to remodel the National Fire Academy.

He said trainees from all works of life including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and other paramilitary agencies have been patronising the Academy for training.

“We have received requests for collaboration and training both within and outside Nigeria. Notably was the request from the Gambian Authorities expressing the need to have Nigeria’s assistance in building the capacity of the personnel of the country’s security agencies in firefighting, fire Protection and rescue,” he added.