The Government of Oyo State has disclosed on Sunday that it was set to acquire 10 modern fire-fighting equipment through a competitive bidding process.
The State Commissioner for Infrastructure, Transportation and Public Works, Professor Raphael Afonja, who made the disclosure while undertaking an on-the-spot assessment of the fire-ravaged Akesan Market, (Oja Akesan) in Oyo Town, said that the process that would lead to the acquisition of the equipment would start on Monday.
This position is coming on the heels of the fire incidents that led to the loss of lives and destruction of goods and property worth multi-million Naira in Ibadan and Oyo, with the Governor, Seyi Makinde, expressing sympathy to all victims of the incident.
Earlier in a post on his Facebook and Twitter handles, Governor Makinde sympathised with the victims of the Akesan Market and promised to get to the root of the incident.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quotes the Governor and the Commissioner for Works as speaking on the unfortunate fire incident that ravaged Akesan market in Oyo Town in the early hours of Sunday.
The Commissioner for Works, Raphael Afonja, who visited the scene of the incident with the Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, spoke at the Akesan Market and the Palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.
He stated that the Government of Seyi Makinde inherited a Fire Service Department with weakened capacity as a result of obsolete equipment.
According to him, the incumbent Government in Oyo State had flagged off a process of rehabilitating the serviceable fire-fighting trucks so as to provide immediate service to the people.
Afonja also noted that the process of rehabilitating the inherited trucks was still on-going when the outbreak of fire incidents occurred repeatedly.
The Commissioner said: “The last time fire-fighting equipment was procured in the State was in 2006. The present government has, however, kick-started the rehabilitation of the few serviceable fire-fighting trucks. The one that was vandalised in Oyo was just repaired the day before when it developed gear problems after returning from an assignment.”
“We are also publishing the tender request that will allow companies to bid for and supply the State with 10 modern fire-fighting trucks through an open and competitive process,” he disclosed.
In a post on his social media handles, Governor Makinde had commiserated with the victims of the fire incident, assuring them of his Government’s determination to end such disasters.
The Governor wrote: “I received with shock, the news of the fire outbreak at Oja Akesan in Oyo Town, in the early hours of Sunday. Words cannot convey my deep sadness at this incident and I sympathize with the victims. I appeal for calm as we investigate the circumstances around the unfortunate incident.”