The Akwa Ibom State Government has promised to overhaul its fire service to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in response to emergencies.
The Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Prof. Eno Ibanga said this while speaking with newsmen on the functionality of the fire service in the state.
Ibanga assured the Akwa Ibom people that the state Fire service would be totally overhauled to fight fire emergencies in the state.
According to him, the overhaul would involve recruitment of workers and procurement of modern state of the art firefighting equipment.
“Recently we discovered that almost all the personnel in the State Fire Service have retired leaving only a small size of the workforce to handle fire emergencies in the state.
“Technically, equipment in the fire service have become obsolete and need replacement to fight fire outbreak in the state.
“I am planning to bring resource persons for intensive training of Fire Men in the state. I will do it at the appropriate time,” Ibanga said.
When our correspondent visited the state Fire Service Office along Dominic Utuk Avenue in Uyo, the number of staff working was very few while there was only one functional Fire Truck to attend to Fire Emergencies in the state.
One of the staff who pleaded anonymity said many staff in the state Fire Service have retired while equipment at their disposal is not enough to tackle fire outbreaks.
“It is unfortunate that almost 80 per cent of our staff here have retired and government could not recruit new ones to fill existing vacancies here.
“Even the only equipment here, we don’t have consumables to use. These consumables are chemicals such as foam chemicals and other detergents needed in our operations.
“Really the state Fire Service needs a total to revamp in terms of manpower and equipment to meet fire emergencies,” he said.
He, therefore, requested the Commissioner for works to come to their aid and reposition the state fire service for effective service delivery.