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House opposes moves to allow firefighters bear AK-47, other arms

The House said that the plan has raised concern among the public due to the reckless use of guns by security agents who have been licensed to do so.

• July 13, 2021
House of Representatives,
House of Representatives, [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of Reps NGR]

The House of Representatives has opposed a proposal for fire men to bear assault weapons, directing that security forces should deploy operatives to accompany firefighters on duty instead.

Thomas Ereyitomi, a representative from Delta State moved the motion calling the House’s attention to the federal government’s announcement that it would present a bill to the National Assembly repealing the Fire Service Act and granting firefighters the right to AK-47 rifles and other arms to protect them from mob attacks while responding to emergencies.

The motion by Mr Ereyitomi, “Call to Discourage Arming of Personnel of the Federal Fire Service” was unanimously adopted at the plenary on Tuesday.

Mr Ereyitomi contended that because the Fire Service is a civil organisation rather than a security institution, it is irrational to allow personnel to carry firearms because they do not require such weapons to carry out their tasks.

He said that the plan has raised concern among the public due to the reckless use of guns by security agents who have been licensed to do so, resulting in the death or serious injury of residents.

Mr Ereyitomi claims that some mob attacks on firefighters are motivated by victims’ frustrations when firefighters arrive late and unable to deal with situations.

“The House believes that 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 and updating the Global Positioning System service of the Federal Fire Service to locate emergency scenes swiftly,” Mr Ereyitomi said.

The House, while passing the motion, requested the federal government should increase the Federal Fire Service’s budgetary allocation so that necessary infrastructure may be put in place for the Service’s efficient service delivery.

The house also said that the House Committee on Interior will work with the House Committee on Appropriations to ensure adequate funding and oversight for the Service in the 2022 fiscal year, while the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps will “assign officers to the Federal Fire Service to accompany firefighters on emergency duties.”

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