From Tom Garba, Yola
Safety measures have been described as fundamental factor for peace and economic stability of every civilized nation.
Any nation and community that lacks proper safety planning and provision will lose many lives, huge wealth and economic devastation will become the lot of such society.
In about two months, Adamawa state has recorded four devastating fire outbreaks where property worth millions of naira were destroyed.
The popular and ancient Yola market was in January this year completely destroyed by a mysterious midnight fire outbreak.
Beside Yola market, Numan, Ngurore and Fufore central markets were also gutted.
According to the disaster management experts, poor safety provision and improper market planning were among the factors responsible of these fire incidents, which they said were avoidable.
In a revelation that speaks volume of the preparedness of the state for fire outbreaks, Mr. Abdullahi Adamu, the Adamawa Fire Service Controller, has told The Dream Daily that the state has only three functional fire-fighting trucks for a population of 4.8 million people spread across 538,000 households, with five major markets situated at four administrative divisions, namely Adamawa (Yola South and Jimeta ), Ganye, Mubi and Numan.
Shockingly, Adamu said that all the major markets across the state had no fire-fighting unit.
“We have four fire-fighting stations in the state with only three functional fighting trucks,” Adamu said.
He listed the stations as Numan, Gombi and Michika to cater for southern, central and northern zones of the state respectively.
The Yola fire station has two functional fire-fighting trucks for the state capital and Mubi station for Mubi town and its environs has only one functional truck, all of which were purchased in 1990.
On the challenges affecting effective service delivery of the department, Adamu stated that Numan, Gombi and Michika stations have not been functioning for many years.
He confirmed that the state capital station, Yola, most times only rely on the assistance of other government organisations in case of any fire outbreak.
“We normally receive assistance during fire outbreak from the Nigerian Air force, American University of Nigeria, Modibbo Adama University of Technology and Faro Water Company fire-fighting departments,” Adamu said.
He said: “The fire-fighting trucks we are using were purchased in 1990 and since 1993 we have not recruit a single personnel into the department. But this year, we have concluded arrangement to send additional six personnel to study Fire Investigation and Assessment Plan at the National Fire College, Shede in Abuja.”
Adamu added that currently the department has only 62 members of staff across the state, 10 of whom are scheduled for retirement in December.
He noted that the department needed no fewer than 200 personnel and 10 new fire-fighting trucks to serve Adamawa.
Adamu said in 2015, the department recorded a total of 65 fire incidents and carried out 15 rescue of flood victims.
He said that in the year under review, no life was lost to fire incident in the state, and that property estimated N694 million naira was saved.
“In 2015, we lost property estimated N187 million naira to fire incidents. While in the same year, we rescued hundreds of domestic animals comprising of cattle, goat and chickens during a flood in Demsa and Numan local government areas,” he said.
On revenue generation, Adamu said the department in 2015 generated N2 million two million for the state government.