Fire Service: Expenditures on Training, Capacity Building followed Due Process- Investigations.
…Fire Service on IPPIS
The Federal Fire Service(FFS) has diligently followed due process in its expenditure on training and capacity building in the course of the more than two years of the current regime of Dr Ibrahim Alhaji Liman, Economic Confidential can report.
Findings from both the Supervising Ministry and the Service itself reveal that all expenditures on trainings both in-country and Overseas were duly certified by the approving authority which has led to the present increased level of manpower by the FFS.
A top official of the fire service who will not want his name in print told Economic Confidential that all approvals were always sought and within the limits of budget provisions, he said.
The official was speaking against the backdrop of recent alleged mischievous Media reports (not Economic Confidential) to the effect that trainings and capacity building both within and outside the country was either lopsided or tilted to favoured ones in the service.
“ My brother I think the Controller General is highly preoccupied with trying to achieve more for the Fire Service than this needless distractions, because as you can see from your findings, the service was in bad shape when he took over and currently the personnel, both rank and file are happy because stagnation has stopped”, he told Economic Confidential.
He continued” before I forget, When Dr Liman arrived to take the mantle of leadership, the problem he faced was training and re-training. So, he quickly made proposal to the government and got approval to establish Fire Service Training School in each of the six geo-political zones. So that of North West has taken off in Katsina state.
“Since then, the service has trained the first batch of both Federal and State Fire Men. The next would-be South West in Ilesha from there we would go to Maiduguri because there they have given us temporary structures to be used as training schools. That is why we are kick-starting the training at those level and with the coming of this administration our population has risen from 1,200 to 5,860 now. So, we are almost 6,000 fire fighters in the country and that translates to enough personnel to handle disasters when they come.
”We also established six functional zonal commands in Yola, Sokoto, Minna, Owerri, Asaba, and Oshogbo. We commissioned and deployed 36 state-of the-art fire-fighting trucks across the six geo-political zones to compliment the state fire service operation and reduce response time to fire and other related emergencies.”
He further noted that Dr Liman Ibrahim and his team has plans to purchase more new firefighting trucks, which include water tenders, ambulances, water tankers and rapid intervention vehicles.
“He even recently announced plans by the service to establish offices in all the senatorial districts across the country, train good instructors for efficient and effective takeover of the training schools and building capacity locally and internationally” he told our reporter.
“Lest I forget the staff strength was less than one thousand when the present administration came on board. They took the bull by the horn by appropriating enough fund for the Federal Fire Service. So, by 2016 the first budget of the Fire Service they gave him substantial, which were used in buying 23 fire-fighting vehicles, and 15 water tanker of 10,000 litres capacity.
Again In 2017, the same administration approved for the service to buy 21 fire-fighting trucks, recovery vehicles and establishment of mobile workshop. In 2018, the same administration gave us money to buy 23 fire-fighting trucks and 8 rapid interventions. Fire truck is not something you go to the shelves and pick, you have to give specification to manufacturers and they would take 6 – 8 months for them to be able to assemble what they call chassis because fire truck is made up of three major component chassis, bombs and body structure. So when we give contract the manufacturer has to go to another company to buy the chassis because there are no companies in the world that has the monopoly of the three components.
So you have to source some parts from other companies. And as a result of this we have to roll over and that is where we are now because we were able to buy these trucks. And we were able to expand our operations beyond Abuja and Lagos. What we did in 2016 was that we were able to convert the six geo-political zones to zonal Fire Services Headquarters and we deployed our personnels there and our equipment.
Again, when he came on board, he was able to access fund and took delivery of more fire trucks and had to expand our services and instead of having six zones, he created additional six zones with the primary aim of reducing the distance we are going to cover to improve on our response-time because in managing disaster, time is key.
We have trained the first batch of both Federal and State Fire Men. The next would-be South West in Ilesha from there we would go to Maiduguri because there they have given us temporary structures to be used as training schools. That is why we are kick-starting the training at those level and with the coming of this administration our population has risen from 1,200 to 5,860 now. So, we are almost 6,000 fire fighters in the country. So, we have enough personnel to handle disasters when they come.
“On the issue of not being part of Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS), the Federal Fire Service cannot be outside the payment system when others are there. We were accused of payment salaries hand to hand. Can that be true? All staff salaries and other payments are done through the banks and this can be verified from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. In fact, there would be no way we can operate if you do not belong in that system” he confided in Economic Confidential.
The official stressed that the fire Chief should at this time not be distracted by unsubstantiated allegations as government is so far happy with him and his humble achievements.