The Federal Government has announced a pivotal requirement for commercial establishments, including banks, hotels, schools, malls, recreational centers, and other private sector entities. They will now be obligated to employ certified fire safety officers.
Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior, revealed this directive following his inaugural official inspection tour of the National Fire Academy in Sheda, Abuja. In a statement by the Minister’s media aide, Babatunde Alao, it was emphasized that the Minister advocated the expansion of the Fire Academy’s role to accommodate private fire service personnel.
The Minister expressed his commitment to enhancing fire safety, stating, “A lot has been done, but there is still a lot more to be done. With what I have seen here, I can guarantee you that we will work very hard to ensure that this facility will not only be instrumental in training fire service officers but also for the private sector.”
He underscored the importance of making fire safety a personal responsibility and urged all institutions, including commercial and recreational centers, to employ certified fire and safety personnel trained by the academy.
Dr. Olubunmi elaborated on how the academy could benefit various private sector stakeholders, asserting, “All public and commercial buildings and infrastructure such as banks, hotels, malls, restaurants, or even government buildings should have first responders capable of administering basic firefighting measures while awaiting the arrival of the country’s Fire Service.”
The Minister clarified that the purpose of his tour was to gain insights into the facility’s status and explore innovative ways to enhance fire service processes to align with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s #RenewedHope agenda.
He further emphasized the need for private sector involvement, stating, “Today, we have over 3 million private guards certified by the NSCDC. We can have something similar for the fire service. We need private fire service personnel to enhance our service and response time. The President’s #RenewedHope agenda has charged us to be innovative if we must change the narrative.”
Dr. Olubunmi highlighted the revenue-generating potential of this initiative, suggesting that individuals aspiring to become safety or security guards should undergo training and certification at the academy.