The Senate has called on the Federal Government to provide firefighting equipment in all major markets across the country.
This formed part of the resolutions reached by the lawmakers during Thursday’s plenary in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
They asked the government to make provision for the equipment through the Federal Fire Service, following the fire incidents that claimed lives and destroyed properties in parts of the country.
Among the notable incidents include the fuel tanker explosion in Onitsha which killed a mother and her child, as well as the fire outbreak at two different locations at a popular market in Lagos State.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) put aside his political difference and joined his Anambra colleagues – Senator Stella Oduah and Senator Uche Ekwunife – of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to call the attention of the Senate to the tragic fire disaster in Onitsha.
In her contribution, Senator Oduah described the incident as a sad one and stressed the need to ensure that drunk drivers do not drive.
“We urge the Federal Government to intervene. Every market of this size must have a huge presence of fire service,” she said.
Senator Ekwunife, on her part, believes the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) should be looking at the quality of drivers that drive Lorries and vehicles.
She urged that all the requests by the Senate were taken and the amendment that fire service should be provided in all major markets be approved by the government.
The lawmaker said, “The fire service should provide fire equipment in all major markets across the country so that if it happens there will be an immediate solution.”
Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu) commiserated with the families of the victims while Senator Francis Ezenwa (Imo) recommended that measures be put in place to prevent such incidents he said were avoidable.
“We also have to look at the state of our roads to be sure that such thing will not happen again.
“Most important, I think we should look at moving inflammable products by pipeline – it is safer and more convenient and it is the way to go,” he said.
Other lawmakers who made various contributions were Senator Christopher Ekpenyong (Akwa Ibom), Senator Theodore Orji (Abia), Senator Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu), Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu (Imo), and Senator George Sekibo (Rivers).
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, called on the FRSC to ensure drivers on the highway undergo various examinations to ensure they were not under the influence of drugs.
According to him, there is a need to ensure that tanker drivers are certified and do not drink before or while embarking on a trip.
“It is a major responsibility of each state to take the lead on fire outbreak.
“Anambra State Government should ensure the roads leading to the market are widened, Federal Government can provide support and states must never shy away … from their responsibilities in the true spirit of true federalism,” the Senate President said.
After much deliberations, the lawmakers observed a minute silence in honor of all those who died in the fuel tanker fire incident in Onitsha.
They also resolved to send a delegation to visit and commiserate with the victims and the people of Anambra, as well as urged the state government to unravel the reasons why the Fire Service in Anambra could not speedily respond to the emergency.
The senators commend the Federal Government for the promise to assist the victims and the affected traders with relief materials and to work with the state government to forestall future fire incidents.
They, however, asked the Federal Government to include financial support in the package to the affected persons to enable them to restart their businesses.
The Senate also called on the Nigeria Police Force to work in conjunction with the FRSC to carry out a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the fuel tanker fire in Onitsha, with a view to prosecuting anyone found culpable.
It resolved to accelerate the passage of the Petroleum Tankers Safety Bill.