By Habibu Harisu
Property worth N860 million were destroyed and three persons died in different fire incidents from Jan. 1 to Dec. 7 in Sokoto state.
Mr Nuhu Lawal, the Fire Prevention Officer of Sokoto State Fire Service, disclosed the figure at a Critical Stakeholders’ meeting on Prevention and Mitigation of Fire Outbreaks on Thursday in Sokoto.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organized by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Sokoto State Operation Office.
In his lecture titled: ” Overview of Fire Outbreaks in Sokoto state, ” Lawal said the agency responded to 433 incidents and about N7 billion property were saved within the period.
He said the fire service was equipped with fire fighting vehicles at each of the 23 local government areas, besides zonal offices in three senatorial districts and selected places.
The Prevention Officer decried the spate of fake emergency calls from some unscrupulous elements as the agency ensured timely response to distress calls.
“At times when our men arrived at the stated scenes, it usually occured that there was no fire outbreak in the mentioned area.”
Earlier, NEMA Head, Sokoto Office, Mr Aliyu Kafindangi, said the stakeholders meeting was part of the strategies to attract attention and enlighten citizens against fire disaster as harmattan had commenced.
Kafindangi said NEMA also planned road walks, public places awareness campaigns as activities to sensitise people to fire incidents.
In his paper tailed ” Overview of Disaster Management ” he described disaster response as a collective responsibility, stressing that NEMA could not do it alone.
He underscored the importance of synergy between actors, comprising state and federal fire service, SEMA, NOA, security agencies and others.
Kafindangi lamented that based on disaster forecasts, NEMA had issued five letters of caution, need for early response and others to Sokoto State Government without single response.
He said Nigeria’s budget provided percentage of funds to disasters which would be expended by the responsible agencies.
He noted that the strata of agencies and departments were designed from local, state and federal governments while international agencies only assisted on catastrophic disasters.
Another presentation was made by Mr Bello Kabiru from Federal Fire Service on categories of fire incidents, prevention, mitigation and modalities of extinguishing fire. (NAN)