The Cross River State Fire Service amendment bill 2023 has scaled second reading on the floor of the State House of Assembly.
The bill which was sponsored by the Member Representing Biase State Constituency, Hon. Ogban Francis Onette has been committed to the House Committee on Environment for further legislative procedure.
According to the Sponsor, the State Fire Service bill was initially passed in 1985 and codified into the State laws in 2004, but that the law has become obsolete and cannot adequately address the current economic realities in the State especially in the areas of fines;
“the amendment is in two sections, section 1 provides additional powers to the Fire Service for service fines and how to collect them. It has increased fines to a more realistic figures.” Onette said.
Onette further stressed that when passed the admendment law will reposition the State Fire Service for optimal operations thereby generating revenue into the State’s coffers.
Also contributing to the debate, the Deputy Leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Davis Etta stated that fire is one of the natural hazards which can be very devastating. He recalled that the State Governor’s first official assignment was to visit the fire incident that engulfed Bogobiri in Calabar metropolis where property worth millions of Naira were destroyed.
Both co-sponsors and others Members emphasize the urgent need to reposition the State Fire Service. They agreed that the fines and punishment prescribe for fire offenders are no longer tenable and advocated an upward review of such fines as well as they’re upgrading of house TV equipment to make the Fire Service operate maximally.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem observe that the importance of a functional Fire Service cannot be over emphasised and commend the sponsor for the bill before committing it to the committee on environment.