It was November 1962 in the small village of Entebe in East Africa, the specific date and time could no longer be remembered due to the long interval it was shared. According to the story, on the fateful day, it was in the morning, the sun was rising with rays accomplishing its rises, dews giving way because of the strength of the sun rays with dusty wind from the Sahara desert and suddenly emerged the young enthusiastic Santa Dan’Etete, not real name, a 21-year-old able-bodied man and hardworking chap whose father then was one of the village traditional chiefs within his kindred. Precipitously, he heard a very loud scream from Marian’ma Elumbento, so quickly he stepped out towards the area where the alarm was coming from. He found out it was the entire lineage farm storage local ban that caught fire. He couldn’t stand the intensity of the fire outbreak. He joined Marian’ma in the screaming for help. Help came at last. Unfortunately, it was medicine after death in view of the fact that the disaster caused by the fire was out of control for the community’s local means of putting off the inferno. Not only was their farm produce completely destroyed, but precious lives were as well lost.
This story of the fire in the village of Entebe far back in the year 1962 is just one out of many fire incidents that occur almost every hour across the globe, particularly in Nigeria. Although the advantages of fire cannot be quantifiable, an individual who might have witnessed or heard about fire disasters, the mere mention of it alone can make them to scamper for safety. Such people no doubt hate fire with disgust. By and large, there’s no way the society can do without fire neither can the society close her eyes against the havoc it has caused in the past and even now That’s why several fire experts in their own way of deep thought, had been proffering different ways of curtailing fire outbreaks in the society.
In some climes, especially in the developed world, their intellectual output to curtail fire outbreaks is indeed and in every perspective yielding great result, while in some and in particular in the third world like Africa, the reverse is the case. In this connection, especially in regard to Africa and Nigeria in particular, many administrations both in the military and civilians had come up with numerous agenda to curtail fire outbreaks. However, to some extent, their strategies in most cases have yielded positive results but the setbacks most times occur due mainly to the sustainability of such strategies. Nevertheless, the measures recently put in place to curtail fire across every segment of Nigeria under the pragmatic leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari through the fantastic governance style of the present Controller General of the Federal Fire Service (FFS), Alhaji Ibrahim Liman, are among the best global practice. The policies have been highly rated by many internationally recognised fire prevention experts as such that if properly executed, fire fighting and prevention in Nigeria will become very effective and efficient.
Prominent among the policies mapped out by the number one fire fighter in Nigeria include establishment of the Federal Fire Service Training School in each of the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. The states where the training schools are to be situated include Katsina state which covers North-west while North-east Fire Training School is to be situated in Borno state. That of North-central is located at Kwara state, South-south location of the training school is Cross River state, the state hosting the South-east is Abia and Osun state is the host state for the South-west region.
Liman, since his appointment as the Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, has also been working assiduously in conjunction with all his lieutenants and the past controller generals of the Federal Fire Service to ensure the procurement of state-of-the-art firefighting equipment to curtail fire outbreaks across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. They includes the procurement of 92 modern firefighting trucks, recruitment of new personnel which no doubt greatly boosted the man power of the Federal Fire Service across the country, as well as the establishment of Federal Fire Service out stations across most of the cities in the six geo-political zones of the country. Honestly, if I am to highlight the earth shaking achievements of the Federal Fire Service helmsman, which is making many people to describe him as a round peg in a round hole as well as the best thing that has ever happened to Federal Fire Service since it was established many years ago, space will not be enough in view of their enormity.
However, based on the numerous achievements recorded by the able leadership of Alhaji Ibrahim Liman, some development experts and public affairs analysts feel there is need for him to do more, especially in the area of recruiting capable hands as well as providing them with modern facilities to bring fire outbreak in Nigeria to its knees. They were also of the opinion that the recruitment of the Fire Service personnel should be not be lopsided but should adhere strictly to federal character norms by giving each of the six geo-political zones an equal representation. But in all they believe the current controller should be given all the necessary support to enable him to accomplish all his pragmatic and articulate policies for the Nigeria Federal Fire Service.
Meanwhile, I urge you my ardent readers to watc hout for the weekly review of the landmark achievements of Alhaji Ibrahim Liman and the public opinion concerning his earth shaking development plans on this platform as time progresses.
Edache is an Abuja-based media practitioner, public affairs analyst, and community/human development expert.