By Stanley Onyekwere
FCT residents have been cautioned against storing highly inflammable substances and products in their homes and places of business, without adequate safety measures in place.
According to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who handed down this caution, residents should avoid improper handling of inflammable materials, in order to mitigate fire outbreaks.
Bello spoke at the commissioning ceremony of operational vehicles and other equipment refurbished by the FCT Fire Service.
He therefore directed that the Fire Service should embark on an aggressive enlightenment campaign to re-educate residents of the FCT on the dangers inherent in storing highly combustible materials in their homes and business premises.
The Minister also commended the management of the Service for taken the initiative to refurbish the vehicles and equipment.
He adds that, “ your actions have not only saved the FCT Administration substantial sums of money but have also freed -up much needed resources which will now be channelled into equally important and pressing areas such that will ultimately be beneficial to the people of the FCT.”
He also encouraged other Departments and Agencies of the FCTA to emulate the actions of the FCT Fire Service and Department of Development Control that had also carried out a similar exercise of refurbishing grounded operational vehicles.
The Minister noted that dwindling resources have ensured that funding for some of the more critical social service sectors such as education, health and emergency service providers such as the fire service has become quite difficult.
He also decried the poor maintenance culture of government of assets which many believe is “nobody’s property”, just as he took a tour of the office complex and its environs.
According to him, such attitude must change for the simple reason that government can no longer afford to continuously replace its assets on accounts of faults in equipment that can properly be managed.
Also speaking, the Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Umar Shaibu noted that the menace of fire outbreak has become a global concern, which the Council cannot fold its hands to see fire ravage the lives and property of FCT residents.
According to him, “This has become imperative, owing to the fact that, the city is witnessing an influx of people on a daily basis from neighbouring states, thus overstretching available facilities and compromising the laid down safety standard.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Director, FCT Fire Service, Opetunsin Julius disclosed that it presently has fourteen functional fire stations spread across the Territory.
Opetunsin added that the Service has twenty-two fire appliances, three water tankers of 10,000 litres capacity and four ambulances, with response time of five minutes to distress calls within the FCT.
He however made a passionate appeal for assistance and support to enable the FCT Fire Service overcome its challenges.