By Taiye Odewale
Properties worth a whooping N6trillion has been lost to outbreak of fire incidents in Nigeria within the last five years, Chairman Senate Committee on Interior, Emmanuel Andy Uba ( APC, Anambra South) has said.
Uba, who made the disclosure on Friday in Abuja in his remarks during the International Conference on Fire and Exhibition organised by the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Interior, specified that in Lagos between 2012 and 2015 alone, the state lost over N54 billion worth of properties to fire incidents, which according to him, claimed about 185 lives.
He added that the cost was not inclusive of the medical expenses incurred for treatment of the victims, psychological costs and other impending economic costs.
He emphasised that there was the need to gather official data in order to reposition fire service delivery in Nigeria, thereby making the system more modern and efficient with the capability to prevent and investigate the root cause of fire, especially in our commercial centres before occurrence.
Similarly, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahaman Danbazau, in his address at the occasion, declared that Nigeria has in the last 30 years witnessed fire disasters involving critical facilities accounting for colossal loss of lives and valuable property.
He maintained that it was important that certain infrastructures in the country be protected, describing the effect of fire outbreaks as retrogressive to infrastructural development, capable of causing mass unemployment and insecurity, stressing the need for further intervention by the National Assembly in coming out with legislations that will strengthen the Nigeria Fire Service.
The minister hoped that with the trend of support received so far by the present administration, the Nigeria Fire Service would be one of the best in five years, but observed that it has a long way to go before meeting international standard.