By G9ija

The Federal Fire Service FFS has threatened to pull out of any state which cannot guarantee the protection of firefighters and assets, decrying Wednesday’s bloody attack on firemen by hoodlums in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.

According to the Service, the continued attacks on his personnel and assets have further justified his call for arming the service through the establishment of a “Fire Police”.

As part of measures to reduce fire incidents in the country and its attendant loss of lives and property, the Service had extended its tentacles to all the states of the Federation, with plans to establish mode fire stations in all the 109 Senatorial districts of the country.

Wounded firefighter
While the fire truck deployed in Kogi was for months out of service due to an accident it had while turning out for an operation, Wednesday’s attack on the personnel and the truck has further set the operations of the service in the state backwards.

Reacting to the incident, Controller General of Fire, Dr Liman Alhaji Ibrahim said the attack on firefighters and fire trucks by hoodlums is unacceptable and those responsible will definitely not go unpunished.

Spokesman of the Service, DSF Ugo Huan in a statement said the attack took place on Wednesday, 9th September 2021 along Felele road when firefighters were turning out to a car fire at Al-Salam fuel station opposite the Kogi State Polytechnic.

The State command had received a fire call concerning a car fire but while approaching the scene, “a mob armed with dangerous weapons began to attack the truck which was conveying firefighters, thereby destroying parts of the truck and injuring firefighters who are currently receiving treatment at the hospital”.

Huan added that the matter had since been reported to the Police for investigation and subsequent arrest of those responsible, noting that the Chief Security Officer at the Kogi State Government House has also been informed.

Dr Liman who vowed that those behind the dastardly act will surely be punished reiterated that it is a criminal offence for anyone to attack firefighters or fire trucks for whatever reasons.

“He further said his directive of blacklisting any community who continuously attacks firefighters still stands and that henceforth any state government that can not ensure the protection of Federal Fire Service, firefighters and equipment in their states will leave the Service with no other option but to withdraw its presence from the State, as he will not fold his hands and watch his men being maimed and killed as well as fire trucks worth millions of Naira been destroyed.

“The Controller General who said this attack which is one amongst many has further proven his call for the establishment of an armed squad in the Federal Fire Service known as Fire Police who will be saddled with the responsibility of protecting firefighters and fire trucks at fire scenes because these hoodlums are emboldened to attack firefighters because they know that they don’t have the protection of armed men.

“The CG has called on the Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Yahaya Bello to address this barbaric act by citizens of the state so as to avoid its reoccurrence”, the statement added.