Auchi,Edo - Residents of Auchi and environs in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo on Sunday appealed to the state government to provide functional fire service stations in the area.
The residents said that property worth several millions of naira were lost to fires which could have been saved or reduced with efficient and well equipped fire service.
The residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the North and Central senatorial districts of the state lacked functional fire service station.
Omonimi Busare said it was a shame that an Urban centre like Auchi lacked a functional, reliable and efficient fire fighting equipment.
Another resident, Bartholomew Edigan, said, "People go through horrifying experiences whenever there is a fire incident."
"We are not just talking about Auchi alone now; the entire Edo North senatorial district lacks a functional fire station."
"What the victims go through whenever there is an incident is better imagined. It is even more sad because Edo Central does not have a fire station,'' he said.
Another resident Sulieman Raheem, said government’s intervention was urgently needed to reduce avoidable loss of property.
He also called on corporate organisations in the state as well as wealthy individuals to come to the aid of the people.
"What we go through when we stick out our neck to assist fire victims is not funny."
"How can we have a government which is not responsive to basic need of the people?"
"What will it take a government to provide a functional fire station in a place like Auchi?"
"Victims are always left at the mercy of God whenever such incidents occur."
"Sympathisers trying to assist with buckets and all sorts of things can do little to salvage anything,” Raheem told NAN.
Also speaking, Abduwasiu Olubukoye said the fire station in Auchi merely existed in name and nothing more.
"How do you suppose that equipment will be provided when the building which is supposed to be an office for the fire station does not have a roof."
"The roof of the fire station was blown off by rainstorm in 2006 and has not been replaced since then."
"We cannot continue to live like this as a people and government.”
Reacting, the officer in charge of the Auchi fire station, Mr Butrus Omoruyi, said the Edo government was making efforts toward addressing the problem not only in Edo North but the entire state.
"I can tell you authoritatively that the Oshiomhole-led government is making efforts to procure fire engines, not only for Auchi but the entire state."
"I want to emphasise here that it is not true that we do not come out to assist whenever there is fire outbreak. We lack fire fighting equipment."