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CRSHA passes State Fire Service Bill 2024 into law

By Our Reporter

The Cross River State House of Assembly (CRSHA) has passed into law, the State Fire Service Bill 2024. The new Law is an amendment of the existing Cross River State Fire Service Law of 2004.

According to a report presented by the Chairman, House Committee on Environmental Matters and Member Representing Yala II State Constituency, Hon. Martins Achadu, the bill which was sponsored by Hon. Ogban Francis Onette (Biase) and six others was first published in the House on 20th July 2023. He added that, after the first and second reading, the bill was committed to his Commitee for detailed consideration .

Achadu stressed that the aim of the bill is to reposition the State Fire and Rescue Service to international standards adding that the amendment of the law was long overdue.

The Lawmaker noted that, it had been impossible for the State Fire Service to give the desired productivity due to several challenges militating against it, including lack of basic requirements for firefighting and prevention, inadequate staff strength amongst others.

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“The fire service is bedeviled by absence of firefighting and operational vehicles, poor and deplorable state of fire stations, lack of necessary tools in their workshops, inadequate manpower, lack of staff training, absence of means of water supply as well as an obsolete law”, he stated.

The specific areas amended include, redesignation or upgrading of position of the Director/Head of the fire service from Director of Fire Service GL16 to State Controller of Fire Service GL 17, formulation of regulations, additional powers of members, offenses and penalties.

Also speaking, the Sponsor of the Bill, Hon. Onette, recalled that, following a fire incident at Bogobiri last year, the House investigated and discovered that there was an urgent need to review the Fire Service Law in order to strengthen the Fire Service for greater productivity.

The House, which had dissolved into the Committee of the Whole to discuss the report, commended the Committee on Environmental Matters for a thorough job and unanimously voted for the passage of the bill.

On his part, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem restated the 10th Assembly’s commitment to “people friendly” legislation.

He also commended the Committee for a good job before directing the Clerk, Barr. Catherine Ubi to transmit clean copies of the bill to the executive for implementation.

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