RECENT fire outbreaks in Akure, the Ondo State capital, has brought about renewed calls for the Fire Service Department to be made efficient.
AS it is now, it is in a comatose state and unable to respond to any distress call.
THERE are demoralised staff there who merely mark time and are without the adequate tools to work.
ON the morning of June 21, in one fell swoop, goods worth millions of naira were destroyed in an inferno after burning for hours in Akure near the palace of the Deji of Akure. This happened while the fire station was just a few kilometers away, because according to reports, there was no fuel to move the fire fighting vehicles to the scene of the incident.
A surge in one of the shops, near the Akure Post Office caused the fire outbreak, which has put the people who depend on the affected business in a dire strait.
It is time the fire service department in the state is repositioned. Rather than wait for the next fire outbreak, when we would start counting another set of victims, we should put the fire service on its feat.
HAVING a functional fire service is part and parcel of the requirements for a modern society where the sanctity of lives and properties is sacrosanct.
WITHOUT an adequately equipped fire service, we feel naked and exposed to all manners of disaster.
EMERGENCY services are supposed to save lives and properties. Whatever is needed for their optimum functioning must be provided."
BUT it seems that the fire service in the state has been asphyxiated to the point of complete death, having been neglected for many years and lip service paid to what it needs to carry out its role in the society effectively.
WE call on the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, to find a way to bring the fire service back to life in his usual pragmatic and no frills manner, the same approach he used to bring the Ondo State Radiovision Corporation to life, making it competitive among its peers again.
NOBODY prays for fire outbreaks to occur, but a democratic society should evolve policies to ensure its fire prevention and control services operate at an efficient level.
FIRE outbreaks have affected many markets and places in Nigeria, and according to a recently compiled list, it includes: Singa Market and Sabon Gari Market in Kano, Birnin Kebbi Central Market, Kebbi State, Ikom Main Market in Cross Rivers State, fruit market in Gombe, Yola Market in Adamawa State, Old Market, Sokoto, Odopetu Market in Akure, Ondo State, Mammy Market, behind Arena Shopping Complex, Oshodi, Lagos, Onitsha Main Market, Anambra State, Ariaria Market, Aba, Abia State, Timber Market, Enugu, Bodija and Aleshinloye markets, Ibadan, Oyo State and at least there were four fire outbreaks over the last five years in Balogun Market, Lagos, to mention but a few.
FROM the above, it is clear there is the need for a national conference convened by the Federal Government in order to see to the reorganisation of the fire services across the country, stakeholders stand generally bring the issue to the forefront of our national consciousness.
THE National and State Assemblies need to put their feet down the executive needs to put on its thinking cap, and prosecutors ready to handle cases of negligence.
LAWS should be crafted so that blames can be properly apportioned when incidents like this occur . It will go a long way to put the concerned people on their toes to do the right thing before it is too late.