FG launches remodelling, upgrading of National Fire Academy

The federal government is set to repeal the 1963 Fire Service Act, saying current events have overtaken its usefulness.

Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, made the revelation Tuesdau in Abuja while speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the remodelling and upgrading of the National Fire Academy, Sheda, Abuja.

The minister said the job of the Federal Fire Service (FFS), in the security architecture of nations had expanded beyond firefighting to include rescue operations and security duties.

According to Tunji-Ojo, fire service had been a sleeping giant over the years, adding that it was time for it to rise and give Nigerians the fire and rescue service 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 This present law of 1963 is obsolete.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 can not 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 fire. 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,” he said.

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

Tunji-Ojo said that after the completion of the project, the government would establish a fire academy in each of the six geo-political zones in the country, saying 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.

Speaking earlier, the Controller General of the FFS, Jaji Abdulganiyu, commended the federal government for the decision to remodel the National Fire Academy (NFA).

While highlighting the landmark achievements of the academy so far, the Controller General said that trainees from all works of life including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and other paramilitary agencies have been patronising the NFA 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.