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EXTRA: No tribe shows interest in producing fire service comptroller-general, says Shehu Sani

Shehu Sani, former Kaduna senator, says no tribe or religion has shown interest in the appointment of the comptroller-general of the Federal Fire Service (FFS).

Various ethnic and religious groups often clamour for heads of “juicy” federal agencies to be picked from among their people.

Fire service is one of the least attractive.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also been accused of bias in federal appointments, with claims that he favours the north over the southern region.

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Most recently, there have been discussions on who will replace Mohammed Adamu as inspector-general of police (IGP) as he clocked the retirement age of 60 years.

Appointments of the IGP, service chiefs, chief judges, heads of federal ministries have historically come under intense scrutiny but not much attention has been given to who presides over the affairs of the fire service.

Commenting on the perceived lack of interest, Sani wrote on Twitter: “No tribe or religion has shown interest in the appointment of the Comptroller General of the Fire Service.”

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WHAT EXACTLY DOES FFS DO?

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The FFS domiciled in the ministry of interior shoulders the responsibility of mitigation, prevention and extinction of fire as well as paramedical and information services.

The fire service in Nigeria was established in 1901 as an arm of the Lagos Police Fire Brigade and in April 1963, an act of parliament established the Federal Fire Service.

Each of the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) has its own fire service established to tackle fire and related disasters within its locality.

Liman Ibrahim, the current comptroller-general, was appointed by Buhari in April 2019.

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Officials of the service have over time complained that the discharge of their duties is hindered by the unavailability of fire trucks, personal protective equipment, motorable roads and attacks by residents of accident scenes.

In January, Ibrahim suspended further operations in Mararaba, a town in Nasarawa state, after repeated attacks on firefighters.

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When a fire gutted Oja Akesan, the main market in the central commercial area of Oyo town, Oyo state, the police command had to seek the intervention of the fire service in Ogbomosho.

A fire service station located about 20 meters away from the market could not contain the outbreak because of non-functioning equipment. By the time the firefighters from Ogbomosho arrived, the inferno had destroyed many shops, sparing only a few and one filling station.

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FFS BUDGETARY ALLOCATION

In the 2019 budget, the Federal Fire Service got N9.6 billion naira for its operations.

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The service was allocated N11.9 billion in the 2020 budget, out of N253.49 billion earmarked for the six agencies under the interior ministry.

In the 2021 budget, the agency got N16.5 billion out of N271,66 billion approved for the ministry headed by Rauf Aregbesola.

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