Following insisant attacks and harassment of firefighters at fire scenes by mob action, the Federal Fire Service (FFS) has proposed to have an Arms Bearing Unit known as fire police to protect firefighters.
The agency is also demanding an upward review of hazard allowance considering the nature of hazards faced by its personnel.
Addressing a press conference Wednesday in Abuja after some recently promoted staff were decorated, Controller General of FFS, Dr. Liman Alhaji Ibrahim, said the agency was pushing to fully develop its Fire Investigation Unit in order to drive professionalism and strive towards best world practices.
He said: “The Service is proposing to have an arms bearing unit (Fire Police) who will be saddled with the responsibility of protecting our personnel at fire scenes and investigation grounds from hoodlums and miscreants with ulterior motives (arsonists).
“With the natural of hazards faced by our personnel which in most cases have long term effects, the issue of upward review of hazard allowance needs a serious review to enable them cater to health challenges that may arise from such exposures. We are holding discussions with relevant agencies to address this.”
While lamenting the moribund Fire Service Act (1963), the FFS boss said his leadership was working to ensure that personnel pensions are not subject to contributory pension scheme.
“Another welfare concern is the confinement of the Service to contributory pension scheme, given the enormous hazards faced as firemen which often results in underlying health conditions due to long exposures to hazards.”
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Interior Dr. Shuaib Bagore, tasked the management of the Federal Fire Service (FFS) especially the newly promoted officers to justify the Service existence by improving on its response time to emergencies across the country, adding that the agency’s main function is to save lives.
Dr. Begore said: “To whom much is given much is expected therefore this service must step up it functions. The response time must be short.
“The future of your service is in your hands, you will have to encourage those who fund you through your service. Therefore step it up.”
Out of the 157 staff promoted recently, the Service now has 4 Deputy Controller Generals (DCGs), 14 Assistant Controller Generals (ACGs), 9 Controllers (CFs), 11 Deputy Controllers (DCFs), and 26 Assistant Controllers (ACFs) at the top management level.