The federal government has announced its intention to form an armed “Fire Police” force whose mission would be to provide an armed outer perimeter during operations.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola disclosed this at the commencement of the National Council on Fire in Jos, Plateau State, according to a statement issued by the Director of Press, Blessing Lere-Adam, on Saturday in Abuja.
The latest drive to equip the fire service comes on the heels of a similar push by the Federal Road Safety Corps, a body created solely to preserve order and safety on Nigerian roadways, to arm its officers with assault weapons.
This decision is “part of efforts to address the issues regularly experienced by firefighters during operations, such as mob action and destruction of firefighting assets around the country,” according to the statement.
AK-47 rifles will be among the weapons approved for deployment once implementation begins, according to a source.
Mr. Aregbesola, who was represented at the event by the interior ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Shuaib Belgore, said: “The Ministry would initiate the process of repealing the 1963 obsolete Fire Service Act and enactment of a new contemporary, vibrant, and enforceable law, through the instrument of an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for deliberation and eventual passage into law”
He added that fire safety management could become a tool for not only national security but also national development as assets protected in the event of fire outbreaks would allow the government to use the country’s “very lean resources” for other development programs instead of reconstructing said assets.