A member of staff of the Lagos State Fire Service, CFM RAHEEM Ibukun has taken the bull by the horn in expressing the dissatisfaction of firemen in the parastatal, saying 95% of the staffers come to work in sadness.
Ibukun who took to the LSFRS whatsapp platform described their plight in the agency as suffering and smiling, while they were under strict directive neither to talk nor act, “slavery mentality”, she said.
She said her 12 years in service; she has only gotten uniform twice which she could not even wear because of the poor fabric.
“When last did our men get fire apparels to wear at the fire scenes? These firemen put their lives out there to save others and properties but no care for them at the scene of emergency, no routine drugs for them, no allowances to back up their tragedies in case there’s any, no provisions whatsoever”, she said.
She claimed that some of her colleagues have gotten injuries or sicknesses they will nurse for the rest of their lives from scenes of emergency and yet nothing to show for it, stating that people posted to the operational department now see it as a punishment to them, because of inadequate care.
“If we all have the privilege to choose our department, with the present and past situations of lack of care and so many things that are not in place, the operational department will be empty.
“No daily, weekly allowances, no inconvenience allowances apart from our peanut salaries, no incentives to live on while on duty, weekly or monthly, no food, snacks, milk, water readily available for men at the scene fronts. No emergency vehicles with a standby driver provided for staffs in case of office or home emergency, no first aid kit and if some stations have, are they being renewed in case they have expired?
“We don’t get first hand recognition and priority in government hospitals as fire fighters. Firemen wear one apparel to attend two or more scenes daily in case of numerous outbreaks, leaving them stinking and dirty, this is just so worrisome. Lagos State Government is this what you have in store for the LSFRS?” she queried.
The Chief Fireman noted that 95% of fire service staffs come to work in sadness, delivering their jobs without happiness, and are just doing it for the sake of it. “This slavery mentality of don’t talk, don’t act, keep mute just has to stop. If the government is not ready to listen to our leaders I believe and know they will listen to the staffers.
“No establishment has ever succeeded without carrying their staff along. The staff is the soul of any establishment. Without the staff there can never be establishment. We all need each other to grow. We on our part are duly discharging our duties and ready to do more. Let the government start discharging their duties to us too in LSFRS. Firemen are working like elephants and eating like ants.
“Those that have worked as operational officers will understand vividly what I am saying. We are not a useless department that don’t remit money yearly, if the government thinks we are not remitting enough, let them legalized the yearly prevention certificate money like the e-Tax from there we will be remitting enough.
“An ordinary clerk in the ministry will talk or look down on us because of how we are being presented to them. We can’t confidently present ourselves as fire officers out there without being criticized; this needs to change, if truly we are the HERO we call ourselves. LASEMA is better rated and enjoying more than the fire service who are well trained professionally for the job which LASEMA is taking glory for, showcasing our work as theirs and taking the benefits”, she lamented.
She said it is high time the world knows what is going on in the LSFRS, since it isn’t a secret cult. She posited that this should not be mistaking for fighting the government but saying what is right to get the right thing done.
“Imagine Some civil servant have been at home for over 3 months staying safe with their families and collecting all their benefits in full and we have been risking our lives each day to get to work by all means with no benefits whatsoever and government want us to be on the same payroll with them. All these should come with benefits and recognition.
“I have colleagues that have died in the course of duties either through sickness, fire disaster or rescue hazards (may God rest their souls), I know how they were buried, I know the reactions from the government towards their death, I know what government contributed to their health status when they needed them most, I know how some of the families are still struggling till date to get the benefits of the deceased and I know what benefits the children are getting from the service after the death of their parents.”
She wants government to put in place welfare budget in case of emergency for LSFRS, stating that the only thing they do is share pictures and contribute individually to help, which shouldn’t be.
“By God’s grace February 4th 2021 will make it 12 years I joined this LSFRS without any achievement so far. Till date I have never worked in any other department except the control room, I have never attended any course since I joined the fire service, no mental training or seminar since I joined this fire service. It is right time the glory of fire service be restored. We are seeing how firemen worldwide both private and under government are been treated and taken care of. Putting us under an agency is not enough, benefits should accompany it.
“During the lock down, the only thing I ever got to take home to my family that I put their lives at risk for not staying at home as announced by the federal government was just four cups of rice and three cups of garri, with my monthly salary hazard allowance #5000. We all know how getting to office to discharge our frontline duties was such a difficult one, especially for those of us that are not mobile. The cost of transportation was high, no proper food was provided, no emergency drugs was provided, no thermometer was put in place and no transportation medium was put in place to convey the staffs.
“Most LSFRS stations do not have television donated by government except the ones they contributed their money for, no well equipped offices and rooms for staffers that will be on 24hrs shift, no free internet facilities in this jet age in our various stations. Where did the fire service go wrong exactly?”
People & Politics however gathered from other firemen who crave anonymity that she was immediately summoned by the Lagos State Fire Service Ag Director, Magret Adeseye, after putting the write-up out.
In a telephone chat with People & Politics, Ibukun said, “Yes, I was summoned the same day by my director, but what she said is that she can’t bite the finger that feeds her, thus she advised against fighting the government. And I explained that this isn’t a fight at all, we only need to express our displeasure, we need not die in silence.”
Meanwhile, everything said by Ibukun was corroborated by some of her firemen colleagues who could not come out openly to bear their minds due to the fear of the unknown.