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House Of Reps Reject Bill To Arm Federal Fire Service With Guns

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File photo of Members of the House of Representatives during plenary.
File photo of Members of the House of Representatives during plenary.

House of Representatives has rejected a bill proposing to arm personnel of Federal Fire Service with guns.

The bill was meant to grant firefighters the power to bear arms to protect them from mob attacks while responding to emergencies.

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, earlier this month said firefighters should be armed to more effectively confront the challenges of mob action and vandalism they face on the field.

The bill was aimed at creating an arms-bearing unit that will be referred to as “Fire Police”.

He said an executive bill would be forwarded to the National Assembly for deliberation, and eventual passage into law.

Aregbesola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, stated;

The Ministry would initiate the process of repealing the 1963 obsolete Fire Service Act and enactment of a new contemporary, vibrant, and enforceable law, through the instrument of an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for deliberation and eventual passage into law.

However, lawmakers ditched the bill by rejecting the bill after Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, during plenary on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, raised a motion against the plan, noting that firefighters don’t require guns for their civil duties.

He noted that the mob action they face on accident scenes is mostly due to frustration with their service, especially when they arrive late or ill-equipped.

The Honorable stated;

Instead of creating an arms squad of the Federal Fire Service, adequate resources be channelled into improving the service delivery of the Federal Fire Service including the provision of Fire hydrants in every local government area, updating the Global Positioning System (GPS) service of the Federal Fire Service to locate emergency scenes swiftly.

He cautioned that arming firefighters would add to the growing concerns of Nigerians who are already terrorized by the reckless use of firearms by security agents.

Hon. Ereyitomi motion was passed by a majority of lawmakers through a voice vote.

The House urged security agencies to assign officers to accompany firefighters to emergency scenes, and curb criminality.

The chamber also urged the Federal Government to increase the budgetary allocation of the Federal Fire Service to make it more efficient.

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