The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, Mr Taiwo Adisa has said that the fire service department of the state will be well catered for in the 2020 budget such that there will be adequate provision for the needed infrastructure to provide immediate service to the people.
He disclosed this while featuring as a guest on a radio programme monitored by our correspondent, adding that the current administration will not shy away from its responsibility to effectively manage fire disaster in the state.
Adisa, who spoke on the heels of the fire outbreak which occurred at the Akesan market in Oyo town on Sunday, explained that the government has already kick-started the process of acquiring 10 modern fire-fighting equipment through a competitive bidding process.
According to him: “The Governor went round the fire service equipment that we inherited as a government and he saw a very bad state of things as regards the capacity of the fire fighting equipment and the structure. He also paid an unscheduled visit to the one inside the secretariat and he saw that the equipment was practically dead. So, he promised that he will make sure that the fire service is well catered for in the 2020 budget such that the needed infrastructure is well provided.”
“Equally, there is an ongoing process to acquire 10 fire fighting trucks. Besides that, towards the end of last year, a contract was given out to refurbish the inherited structures,” he added.
Speaking further on why the inferno was not being put off at the time expected, he stated that: “One of the firefighter trucks was repaired before the incident happened and went for an assignment somewhere around Oyo. By the time the truck came back, it developed a gear problem again. And if a vehicle has been diagnosed with a gear problem, how can it move? So, on the day of the incident, people thought the firefighters did not want to do their job when the truck could not move. No, they wanted to do the needful but the fact was just that they lacked equipment.
“One thing we must know is, the cause of any fire outbreak has to do with many things as there could be natural occurrence but the people also have to be careful as to how they handle fire and that has been the message from the government of Oyo State and the Police.
“So, the state government is not idle about the issue of management of fire or management of state infrastructure. For the advert to come out today, that is to tell you that the process has started some months back.”
Adisa lamented that the fire fighting truck that was vandalized on the day of the incident in Oyo was one of the pieces of equipment that benefitted from the emergency repairs that governor Makinde ordered but, incidentally, “the people got angry and thought that the cause of the fire was because the equipment could not work. Meanwhile, it was not like that.”
“It is a big shame that the fire fighting equipment that was supposed to be bought five years ago was not bought. The last equipment that was procured for fire service was in 2006 and we are surprised that someone was in power for 8 years and did not deem it fit to buy just a single truck for fire service. That was the same government that was busy buying tractors, excavators but, eventually, did not but firefighting equipment and we are suffering from that now,” He added.
While assuring the people of Oyo State that the suffering will be temporary, he said: “I can assure the people that this suffering will be temporal and will not last long because the trucks that are being repaired will be on the road in a short while.
Also, the process of the ones that we are planning to procure will not be delayed for too long and, in the end, we will have a refurbished system of disaster management in Oyo State.”