By Brenda Agba
The Benue State Government has commenced a project for the distribution of fire extinguishers and enforcement of its usage in homes and public places across the state.
The project has provision for the servicing of fire extinguishers as part of efforts to not only ensure safety, but also generate employment.
The Executive Governor of Benue State, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia made this known Saturday in Makurdi at the launch of ‘The Nigeria Fire Extinguisher Sticker (NFES), a project meant to control fire and ensure prompt response to any fire incident.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Joseph Alakali, said over 10,000 sustainable employment opportunities would be provided under the project.
“It will control situations in which fire extinguishers fail at points of usage as well as enable arrest and prosecution of fake and wicked servicing vendors who fill fire extinguisher cylinders with casava flour which increases fire instead of quenching it at most critical point of usage.
“It will prevent the use of fire extinguisher cylinders for drug trafficking, terrorism and other crimes.
“The process of distribution, servicing and enforcement will provide over 10,000 sustainable employment opportunities.
The service will boost the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and block economic loopholes,” he added.
The governor described the project as another rebirth and retooling of the state fire service to effectively deliver its mandate of fire prevention, response and investigation adding that the repositioning will boost their performance in the various agencies and deepen public participation in the state security and public safety.
Alia stated that the launch was in fulfilment of his promise to harness the enormous potentials in the youth in order to position the state as an investment destination.
“To achieve this task, we have reached out to stakeholders on every sector of which fire safety management is one.
As it is universally said and agreed ‘’SAFETY FIRST’’. The fire safety sector is one of the most critical sectors of the state and national economy.
“Fire vulnerability of any society grows directly propositional to its development. As your income increase, so your choice of furniture and electronics increases.
“Similarly, our society has a lot of fake electronics, electrical cables, low quality cooking gas cylinders and a lot of other fake products including fire extinguishers. These fake products can be difficult to distinguish from the original ones in the market.
“As a fulfilment of my promise during election and delivery of practical solutions towards the safety of our people, today Benue State is breaking another record of being the first state in Nigeria to flag-off Nigeria Fire Extinguisher Sticker (NFES) project.”
He appreciated the Federal Executive Council for approving the project, and called on the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Federal Road Safety Corps, Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Fire Service, DSS, the Military, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and all stakeholders to collaborate with the state fire service in ensuring the actualisation of the project’s objectives.
“To the youths who will be engage as Adhoc staff in this phase, I am assuring you of the state government’s protection as you carry out your duties.
“My sincere thanks go to the good people of Benue state who will use this project to protect themselves and their neighbors against fire disasters.
“To the management of 2TOC Solutions Ltd, we assure you of our continued collaboration on mutual ground.
“Finally I call on you all to join us to make Benue State safe by participating in the Nigeria Fire Extinguisher Sticker (NFES) Project across every electoral ward of the state,” the governor added.
Earlier, Mr. Benson Olatunji, National Coordinator,
Nigeria Fire Extinguisher Sticker (NFES) concessionaire and N- Alert Technical Partner, Ministry of Interior, Abuja, explained that the project would be launched in the thirty six states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said Benue State was chosen to pioneer the project in collaboration with State Bureau of Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation, the Bureau of Internal Affairs (Fire Department Unit), and Office of the Special Adviser on Security.
According to him, “The objective of the programme is to sensitize the public on the importance of the multiple uses of fire extinguishers.
“The project is a practical demonstration of the whole society approach to national strategy involving all government security outfits to collaborate to solve internal security and public safety problems.
“Amongst the many benefits of the program is the job creation angle where over 1200 Benue youth were shortlisted and employed immediately as ad-hoc staff who will be employed as career fire service officers at the end of their training.
“Also pertinent to note is that this is the first programme ever to employ such a large number of Benue indigenes across the 23 LGAs in a single exercise in the state.
“It is also set to boost the IGR of the state with annual estimated projections of over N1.6 billion. The programme also sets to boost inter and intra governmental collaboration between Federal Government and State Governments” he said.
He commended the governor for his support and commitment to the project.
Present at the event were
representative of the Federal Ministry of Interior, Hon Benita Shuluwa, Director General, Bureau of Entrepreneurship & Weath Creation as well as Special Adviser to the Benue State Governor on Security (Internal Affairs), Joseph Har among others.