Cross River State Fire Service Amendment Bill Passes Second Reading

In Breaking News, Reports

By Mary Bassey, House of Assembly Correspondent

The Cross River State Fire Service amendment bill has passed the second reading during a plenary held on Tuesday 25 July, 2023 at the State House of Assembly Chamber.

The bill is sponsored by the member representing Biase State Constituency, Hon. Ogban Francis Onette who has been committed to the House Committee on Environment for further legislative procedure.

According to Onette: “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 finance.

“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 more realistic figures,” Onette said.

He reiterated that when passed the amendment law will reposition the State Fire Service for optimal operations thereby generating revenue into the State’s coffers.

In contribution to the presentation, the Deputy Leader of the House, Hon. Davis Etta said 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 properties worth millions of Naira were destroyed.

Both co-sponsors and other members emphasized the urgent need to reposition the State Fire Service.

The House agreed that the fines and punishment prescribed for fire offenders are no longer tenable and advocated an upward review of such fines as well as upgrading of house TV equipment to make the Fire Service operate maximally.

The Speaker, Hon. Elvert Ayambem observed that the importance of a functional Fire Service cannot be overemphasized and commended the sponsor of the bill before committing it to the committee on environment.

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