Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Sunday said that he inherited a fire service department with weakened capacity as a result of obsolete equipment.
Commissioner for Infrastructure, Transportation and Public Works, Professor Raphael Afonja, made the disclosure while undertaking an on-the-spot assessment of the fire-ravaged Akesan Market, in Oyo town.
DAILY POST gathered that residents of Oyo town on Sunday woke up to the news of an early morning inferno that gutted more than half of the town’s main market, Akesan.
But, Afonja who spoke on behalf of Makinde, declared that the last time fire-fighting equipment was procured in the state was in 2006.
He, however, added that the present government has, however, kick-started the rehabilitation of the few serviceable fire-fighting trucks.
He remarked that the process that would lead to the acquisition of the equipment for the fire service department in the state would start on Monday (tomorrow).
He added that the state is to acquire 10 modern fire-fighting equipment through a competitive bidding process.
He stated that the Government of Engineer Makinde inherited a Fire Service Department with weakened capacity as a result of obsolete equipment.
According to him, the incumbent Government in Oyo State had flagged off a process of rehabilitating the serviceable fire-fighting trucks so as to provide immediate service to the people.
He also stated that the process of rehabilitating the inherited trucks was still ongoing when the outbreak of fire incidents occurred repeatedly.
“The last time fire-fighting equipment was procured in the state was in 2006. The present government has, however, kick-started the rehabilitation of the few serviceable fire-fighting trucks. The one that was vandalised in Oyo was just repaired the day before when it developed gear problems after returning from an assignment.
“Last month we engaged a company that will help us refurbish and salvage some of our existing trucks including the one that was vandalized in Oyo.
“We are also publishing by tomorrow (Monday) the tender request that will allow companies to bid for and supply the State with 10 modern fire-fighting trucks through an open and competitive process.”
It was gathered that Makinde had commiserated with the victims of the fire incident, assuring them of his Government’s determination to end such disasters.
The Governor wrote, “I received with shock, the news of the fire outbreak at Oja Akesan in Oyo Town, in the early hours of this morning (Sunday morning). Words cannot convey my deep sadness at this incident and I sympathise with the victims. I appeal for calm as we investigate the circumstances around the unfortunate incident.”