By Bridget Ikyado

Benue State Government has commenced a project for the distribution of fire extinguishers and enforcement of its usage in homes and public places across the state.

The government also said that the project has provision for the servicing of fire extinguishers as part of efforts to not only ensure safety, but also generate employment.

Governor Hyacinth Alia made this known on Saturday in Makurdi at the launch of ‘The Nigeria Fire Extinguisher Sticker (NFES)’, a project meant to control fire and ensure prompt response to any fire incident.

The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Joseph Alakali, said over 10,000 sustainable employment would be provided under the project.

“It will control situation in which fire extinguisher fail at point of usage. Enable arrest and prosecution of fake and wicked servicing vendors who fill fire extinguisher cylinder with casava flour which increases fire instead of quenching it at most critical point of usage.

“It will prevent the use of fire extinguisher cylinder for drug trafficking, terrorism and other crime.

“The process of distribution, servicing and enforcement will provide over 10,000 sustainable employment opportunities.
The service will boost the state internal generated revenue and block economic loophole,” he added.

The governor described the project as “another rebirth and retooling of our state fire service to effectively deliver its mandate of fire prevention, response and investigation.

“The repositioning will boost their performance in the committees of agencies and deepening public participation in the the state security and public safety.”

Hyacinth added that it was in fulfilment of his promise to harness the enormous potential in the youth, in order to position the state as an investment destination.

“To achieve this task, we have reached out to stakeholders in every sector of which fire safety management is one.
As universally said and agreed ‘’SAFTY FIRST’’. The fire safety sector is one of the most critical sector of the state and national economy.

“Fire vulnerability of any society grows directly propositional to its development. As your income increase, so your choice of furniture and electronics increases.

“Similarly, our society has a lot of fake electronic, electrical cables, low quality cooking gas cylinders and a lot of other fake products including fire extinguishers. These fake products can be difficult to distinguish from the original ones in the market.

“As a fulfilment of my promise during election and delivery of practical solutions towards the safety of our people, today Benue State is breaking another record of being the first state in Nigeria to flag-off Nigeria Fire Extinguisher Sticker (NFES) project.”

He appreciated the Federal Executive Council for approving the project, and called on the Nigeria Police Force, NDLEA,Federal Road Safety Corps, VIO, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Fire Service, DSS, the Military, NGOs and all stakeholders to collaborate with the state fire service in ensuring the achievement of the project’s objectives.

“To the youths who will be engage as Ad hoc staff in this phase, I am assuring you of the state government protection as you carry out your duties.

“My sincere thanks go to the good people of Benue state who will use this project to protect themselves and their neighbors against fire disasters.

“To the management of 2TOC Solutions Ltd, we assure you of our continued collaboration on mutual ground.

“Finally I call on you all to join us to make Benue state safe by participating in the Nigeria Fire Extinguisher Sticker (NFES) Project across every electoral ward of the state,” the governor added.

Mr. Benson Olatunji,National Coordinator
Nigeria Fire Extinguisher Sticker (NFES) concessionaire and N- Alert Technical partner. Ministry of Interior, Abuja, had earlier explained that the project would be launched in all states and the FCT.

He said Benue state was chosen to pioneer the project in collaboration with state Bureau of Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation, the Bureau of Internal Affairs (Fire Department Unit), and Office of the Special Adviser on Security.

“The objective of the programme is to sensitize the public on the importance of the multiple uses of fire extinguishers.

The project is a practical demonstration of the whole society approach to national strategy involving all government security outfits to collaborate to solve internal security and public safety problems.

“Amongst the many benefits of the programme, important to note is the job creation angle where over 1200 Benue youth were shortlisted and employed immediately as ad-hoc staff who will be employed as career fire service officers at the end of their training.

“Also pertinent to note is that this is the first programme ever to employ such a large number of Benue indigenes across the 23 LGAs in a single exercise in the State.

“It is also set to boost the IGR of the state with annual estimated projections of over N1.6 billion. The programme also sets to boost inter and intra governmental collaboration between Federal Government and State Government,”he said.

He commended the governor for his total support of the project.

Present at the event were
representatives of the Federal Ministry of Interior, Hon Benita Shuluwa, Director General, Bureau of Entrepreneurship & Weath Creation, Special Adviser Security (Internal Affairs)and Benue Internal Affairs Service alongside over 3000 participants.

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