By Peter OSSAI
The Controller-General of the Federal Fire Service (FFS), Mr. Joseph Garba Anebi, has declared that the Service, under his watch, had not misappropriated N4 billion equipment fund as alleged by an online medium. He made the denial in a statement issued in Abuja by the Public Relations Officer of the Service, Mr. Collins Elechi. Rather, he said, under the leadership of Anebi, the fire agency had improved tremendously to curtail incidences of fire outbreaks across the country. According to the statement, the
“author of the story was hired to blackmail and tarnish the integrity of the Controller-General who, since assumption of office, has been transparent in his dealings.” It said it was malicious for anyone to claim that the CG had promoted “only his relatives and cronies” since he took charge, stressing that “this is a clear case of giving a dog a bad name so as to hang it.” The statement read in part: “The recent promotion in the Service was carried out in good faith without fear or favour; so the issue of the CG promoting his relatives and his allies sounds funny and it is only aimed at tarnishing his good reputation. “No response would have
served this one-sided and negative report, but where silence is taken to be a weakness and acceptance of guilt, it makes it more expedient to state the facts before the public. “We urge the media to properly investigate information given to them to avoid publishing frivolous allegations. “It is important to stress here that the CG runs an open-door policy where the media can verify issues emanating from rumours.” The statement regretted that the agency had suffered neglect over the years due to lack of modern equipment; hence, under Anebi, it embarked on a tour for the procurement of state-of-the art equipment for
efficient and effective service. It clarified that there was no proposal in the 2015 budget for the procurement of fire-fighting equipment, adding that “I can say that the newest equipment we have was procured 28 years ago; that is to tell you that the Service was neglected.” It disclosed that the Service had, however, begun the process of procuring 55 fire engines worth N5.5 billion for the effective operations even as it had prioritised the welfare of its personnel to enhance their commitment to duty. The statement, therefore, requested the Aljazirah news to withdraw the “malicious report” or risk legal action.