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Stop Burning Refuse Within Residential Areas- Commissioner

The newly appointed Rivers State Commissioner for Special Duties, Barr. Dickson Umunakwe has called on residents of the State to adhere strictly to basic safety rules, particularly on burning of refuse within residential areas to safeguard lives and properties from fire incidents.
Umunakwe gave the advice while speaking with fire fighters at the State Fire Service, in Port Harcourt.
The Commissioner attributed most causes of fire outbreak in the state to this unsafe act.
The Special Duties Boss further announced plans by his administration to initiate a law that would prohibit the burning of refuse within residential area, adding that residents would have to obtain permission from the ministry before carrying out such act.
In his words, “when people do not switch off their electrical appliances after use, it is a recipe for disaster, fire service on its part will do its best, but residents need to be conscious in issues relating to fire”.
Barr. Umunakwe expressed willingness to collaborate with multinationals and private sectors to enhance fire safety management in the state, the reason he explained is to ensure that fire safety should not be left in the hand of government alone.
According to him, the ministry would partner with the Urban and Physical Planning Ministry to ensure compliance of fire safety before the erection of any new structure in the State.
As a measure to reduce fire occurrences in the state, the commissioner stated that the ministry would embark on aggressive sensitization which would be taken to schools, market places, companies, banks, among others, geared towards creating fire safety consciousness among residents.
For smooth fire rescue operations, he said remedial measures have been put in place to ensure the refurbishing of the fire trucks before the procurement of new ones and called on motorists in the state to give the right of way for fire trucks. He warned against attacks of the ministry’s fire fighters and trucks, adding that they will partner with the security personnels to forestall a reoccurrence.
On the staff welfare an other issues raised by the fire fighters, he assured them that their challenges would be properly addressed and cautioned against apathy among staff and poor maintenance nature of the fire trucks by its operators.
Hon. Umunakwe said he is so passionate to effect change in the Ministry, adding that, “I will not be an office commissioner and appealed to them to join forces with him to achieve this goal.
The fire personnel used the forum to ask for incentives which they said will boost their performance and expressed optimism in the ability of the commissioner to deliver.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dame Mina Benebo said the meeting was organized to chart the way forward for the fire service and appealed to the fire fighters to see their job as a service to God and humanity, pointing out that their efforts would be rewarded accordingly. ###
Emeka Jilly Ejiowhor

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