Members of the Lagos state House of Assembly have commenced moves to strengthen the state’s Fire Service agency as bill for a law to establish the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service passed Second reading on Thursday.
The bill, according to the Chairman, House Committee On Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Hon. Kazeem Adewale, is to address the lacuna in the extant fire service law.
Adewale, while appealing to his colleagues to support the bill, said that there would be maximum reduction in fire outbreak if the bill was passed into law, saying the bill would reposition the fire service agency to be a world class service provider.
He added that if the bill is passed it would empower the fire service agency to respond quickly to fire incidents in the state, adding that it would give sufficient opportunity for government to control the rate of fire outbreak in the state.
Adewale added: “It will help to address the lacuna in the extant law. The bill will address issues concerning victims of fire outbreak. The bill will also help in controlling fire outbreak. The bill will help in prosecuting defaulters . There will be maximum reduction in outbreak with the bill.”
He said after appointment of chairman and members of the Board by the governor, there should be room for the House to confirm the appointment.
Hon. Muyiwa Jimoh ( Apapa 2), in his contributions, pointed out that the content of the bill was fundamentally different from the extant law, suggesting that the word ‘rescue ‘ should be expunged from the title.
Jimoh suggested that areas of bureaucratic bottleneck in the bill which would affect the effective operation of the proposed agency should be amended.
The lawmaker representing Somolu 1, Hon. Rotimi Olowo, said it encourages public donations to strengthen the activities of the fire service agency.
“It will liase with water corporation to discharge their duties effectively and so this will help in reducing incident of fire in the state. My colleagues if you read through the content of the bill, you will agree with me that the bill if passed into law will address all issues of fire outbreak in the state,” he said.
Hon. Gbolahon Yishawu ( Eti-Osa 2), said that some of the content of bill were in extant law but that does not stop the House from repealing areas that were not in tandem with current reality.
Yishawu advised the committee to carefully look at some of the clauses of the bill which might clash with the responsibility of LASEMA and LASC.
He added that the inter-agency collaboration should be expressly stated in the bill so that there won’t be rivalry among them.
Hon. Sentoji David (Badagry 2) noted that the membership of the board should be appointed to reflect the political divisions of the state, adding that emergency response should not be subjected to the approval of the governor.
Also, the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade stated that the state government has painstakingly studied the challenges of fire incident and that coming up with the bill should be applauded by the lawmakers.
Agunbiade faulted Clause 18 (3) of the bill, adding that it does not specify those to benefit from the reward fund.
He suggested that the beneficiaries should be clearly spelt out, supporting the Clause which states that the governor must approve the service of the fire service agency outside the state.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, who presided over the plenary session, urged the Special Duties Committee to critically look at the contributions made by the lawmakers so as to have an all-encompassing law.
Eshinlokun-Sanni, thereafter, committed the bill to the House Committee On Special Duties to report back in 2weeks.