By Osondu Ahirika
The Akwa Ibom State Government has reiterated her commitment to urgently turn around the Fire Service department and make it functional.
This hint was dropped by the Honourable Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen when he paid a working visit to the Uyo Divisional Station of the Fire Service for an on-the -spot assessment of facilities in the station and the readiness of the firefighters to respond to emergency.
Conducting Commissioner Inyangeyen, who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works, Elder Effiong Essien and other Directors around the station, the Commander Uyo Division of the Fire Service,
Mr Nsikak Akpambang decried the state of dilapidation of Firefighting facilities and trucks of the service which are all grounded.
Mr Akpambang said, only one firefighting truck is functional and regretted that five modern firefighting trucks donated to the service by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, are all lying grounded, even as he disclosed that, the stations’ generator and Water reticulation are also in bad shape.
The Uyo Division Commander who also lamented the poor office accommodation, expressed delight at the visit of the supervising Works Commissioner, stating that, they have confidence in the commitment of the government to address the problems of the Fire Service and reposition the department for efficient public service.
In his reaction, Commissioner Inyangeyen expressed sadness at what he said, is the avoidable rot in the Fire Service, adding that, Governor Udom Emmanuel has given the marching order for the department to be turned around for good.
The Works Commissioner, while giving directives for immediate intervention to repair the generator and restore light and water to the premises, also instructed that experts be brought in to fix the firefighting trucks and get them working without delay.
Commissioner Inyangeyen said the Akwa Ibom State Government remains committed to resolving all issues that have undermined operations of the Fire Service in the past, harping that, Governor Emmanuel wants to have a ready, well equipped, motivated and trained staff in the Fire Service to make the department meet up with global best practices.
Commissioner Inyangeyen also used the opportunity to put to rest and the lingering leadership tussle in the Fire Service following the retirement of the erstwhile Director of Fire Service, Mr Ndarake. He affirmed the report of the Elder Effiong Essien led Panel set up to look into the matter, which recommended that, the incumbent Acting Director of Fire Service
Eng. Ubong Bassey Umoh, continues in his role.
Commissioner Inyangeyen accordingly called for cooperation of the officers with the Director, warning that, the government will not tolerate acts of sabotage or insubordination in the service.
In his response, the Director of Fire Service, Engr. Umoh thanked the works Commissioner for the proactive measures he has taken to restore the operational capacity of the Fire Service.
He lauded the vision of Governor Udom Emmanuel to reposition the department and pledged the preparedness of staff to reciprocate the kind gesture with diligence and selfless services to the people of the state.