The National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the Federal Fire Service (FFS) have reached an agreement to implement new strategies for promoting fire safety awareness at the grassroots, one of which is a grassroots and zonal roundtable training on fire disaster prevention and management.
Director General of NOA, Mr. Mike Omeri gave this indication when he received the FSS Comptroller General, Engineer Olusegun Okebiorun in his office on a courtesy visit.
Mr. Omeri said the decision to embark on the sensitization campaign was informed by several letters from rural communities across the country requesting NOA to intensify efforts towards creating sufficient awareness on fire safety and safe use of generators at the grassroots. He observed that the risk of poisoning from generator fumes were also on the increase across the country and the Agency’s campaign was being designed to cover awareness on the issue.
The NOA boss said the Agency was working together with the FFS, the National Emergency Management Agency and other stakeholders to achieve the mitigation of disasters in the country as well as enhance the preparedness of Nigerians to manage disasters if they do occur. An example of the practical preparedness trainings, Omeri said, will be a fire drill to be organized at the headquarters of the NOA by the Federal Fire Service and replicated in other government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
On his part, the FSS Comptroller General, Engineer Olusegun Okebiodun said a National Fire Safety Code was underway and would soon be signed into law after the due legislative processes. When passed, he disclosed, the Fire Safety Code would prohibit the construction of buildings in the country without adequate fire safety measures.
Engineer Okebiodun noted that over N50bn was lost annually in Nigeria to fire disasters with 2011 being the worst case so far, having recorded over N200bn worth of losses to fire incidents. He said Abuja, the nation’s capital, records an average of one fire incident in two days while Lagos, being the commercial capital records an average of one fire incident in five days.
The Fire Service helmsman was of the view that the NOA had distinguished itself as a very effective tool for mass sensitization on safety related concerns; hence the partnership with the Agency to stem the ugly trend of destruction by fire. Describing safety as man’s most basic need, Okebiodun said the Service was committed to ensuring fire safety in all government and private buildings across the country.