Ekiti State Government has cautioned residents of the state against attacking officials and operational vehicles of men of the Fire Service and other public servants in the cause of carrying out their official duties.
Speaking at a Press Conference in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday, the Director General, Office of Transformation and Service Delivery and Overseer of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, said incessant attacks on public officials in the guise of protesting against lateness would no longer be tolerated by the state government.
He spoke against the background of last weekend’s attack on officers of the State and Federal Fire Services and equipment in Moferere area of Ado Ekiti, while attending to a fire incident.
Prof. Aluko, who was in company of the Special Adviser, Governor’s Office and Overseer of the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Evang Foluso Daramola, frowned against the dastardly act by the residents of the area saying those arrested in connection with the act would be prosecuted.
He noted that the officials were recruited to save lives and properties in times of emergency, adding that continued threats to their lives, discourage them from putting in their best as well as shunning distress calls.
Prof. Aluko used the opportunity to appeal to the Federal Fire Service saying the attack by a few residents of the area was not an attack against the federal government, imploring them to continue to provide the necessary and desired services to the people. He said the state government would henceforth ensure their safety.
Government, he said would step up its sensitization of residents on fire prevention techniques to reduce incidence of fire outbreak rather than dissipate all its energy and resources to fighting fire.
The Director General also reminded residents that despite the fact that Fire services officials are always on standby, distance to the point of fire outbreak and difficulty in locating the address could hamper movement to the venue thereby causing lateness.
He said, “A fire incident occurred at about 8.00pm at a house in Moferere area of Ado Ekiti and at some point or the other, both the state and federal fire services responded to the call.
“Eventually, the house was completely conflagrated. But what brings us here today is not just the fire itself, but what happened when Federal Fire Service appliances arrived at the site soon after the call was made. They arrived there, ready to contain the fire, only to be confronted by hundreds of residents and hoodlums throwing stones at their vehicle and the windscreen was smashed.
“The Governor is extremely horrified about such act by citizens of the state against employees of state or federal governments who were sent to the site to assist the citizens of the state. If something like that is allowed to happen without any sanction, them we can send water people to a place and then they will be attacked. A number of arrests have been made and we want to be sure that those who were masterminds of such unnecessary attacks are brought to justice so that something like that will not continue.
“We require them to continue to assist our state services, they are development partners within the state whatever it is that our state services cannot do, they will do and vice versa, and if they now step down their activities, even our own state services may be frightened to go to where they are supposed to go if they feel threatened.
In their separate statements, the Director, Ekiti State Fire Services, Mr Gbenga Omoniyi and and his Federal Fire Services counterpart, Mr Adeyemi Ariyo condemned the act and called on the state government to stop any reoccurrence of such act in future.
The officers, who noted that they had the mandate to ensure safety of lives and properties in the state, said their duty was based on humanitarian ground and hence residents must see them as friends of the society.