BY TERSOO ADAGHER
One month into office, the Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, Jaji Olola Abdulganiyu MNSE, MIFire.E, COREN has matched his words with action as he is seeing to be assiduously working, not just to better position the Service for efficient and effective service delivery but through his actions, reassured Nigerians that safety of lives and property remains paramount on his agenda and in no distant time, his administration will reduce or prevent fire occurrences in the country.
These were part of his words during his decoration as Controller General of the Service on April 28, 2022. He was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to take over the baton of leadership at the Federal Fire Service on April 22, 2022. Until his appointment, Abdulganiyu was the Deputy Controller General (DCG) in charge of administration and supplies in the Federal Fire Service.
Since assumption of duty, his courage, strength, brilliance, dogged tenacity and vision which is already glaring in the eyes of the public is worth commending.
Being mindful of the strategic vision of the Service which is geared towards achieving its mandate in the most effective manner, Abdulganiyu swung into action and rolled out immediate areas of interest when he assumed office. This includes;
- The deployment of a massive public enlightenment campaign on fire prevention, control and mitigation
- Boost the morale of officers for efficient response to fire incidents at public and private buildings
- Enhance the capacity of officers by training and re-training to ensure the safety of lives and property
- Enforce compliance with the fire safety code and other extant laws
- Pursue with vigour, the enactment of the fire service act and other extant laws
- Ensure a robust partnership in the area of public-private partnership thereby tapping into the enormous resources of the private sector to further develop our safety industry
- Actualize the collaboration between the Service and the Nigeria Air force on the establishment of the Aerial Fire Response Unit
- Leverage technology to enhance our statutory mandate and efficient service delivery, amongst others.
This he said was in recognition of the world of difference that his predecessor, Dr Lima Ibrahim, who he described as a mentor, leader and friend had put in during his time to move the Service forward which he also promised to tap from his resourcefulness and build on his legacies towards making the Service better than he met it.
Similarly, while speaking recently on the need to boost the morale of officers for efficient response to fire incidents as the world marked the International Firefighters’ Day on May 4, 2022, Abdulganiyu called for empathy and goodwill for firefighters across the globe, saying rather than attack a firefighter at fire scenes, the public should rather learn to appreciate, support and celebrate them.
In his words: “As we mark the International Firefighters’ Day, I call on all and sundry to join hands with the Federal Fire Service to ensure the safety of lives and property. For a fireman to risk his life, staying up round the clock attending to life-threatening situations without a commensurate reward system is not motivating. It does not only affect the efficiency but it destroys productivity”.
“Straight from the field, we have had reports of exposures of our men to generic triggers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as first responders to traumatic scenes. In some cases, they get away with serious respiratory challenges, and near-death explosions of gas cylinders just to mention a few. The degree to which our firemen are exposed to hazards on a daily basis each time they combat a fire or are out on a rescue operation is phenomenal.
“Therefore a show of empathy and goodwill will go a long way to lift the spirits of these firefighters to continue in the line of sacrifice and love for the country, to save lives and property, especially on a day like this”, he said.
Born on August 13, 1965, to the family of Alhaji Umar Olola Jaji in Ilorin, Kwara state, Abdulganiyu who is from a humble background but got determined from his childhood to pursue his dreams, started his educational career at Alore L.S.M.B School, Ilorin, Kwara state where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate. He proceeded to Okeya High School Okeya, Kwara state, to obtain his West African School Certificate in 1982. He attended the College of Technology Ilorin, Kwara state and obtained both an Ordinary National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in mechanical engineering. For the love of education, Engr. Abdulganiyu later proceeded to the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger state where he bagged a postgraduate diploma and subsequently, a Master’s degree both in mechanical engineering.
Abdulganiyu Jaji started his work career at the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as a higher technical officer in charge of the Planning and Management Section in 1991. He held several positions in the ministry before his redeployment to the Federal Fire Service in 1999.
He has served in various capacities in the Federal Fire Service which includes:
• Officer in charge of Building, Construction and Maintenance at the Service Headquarters, Abuja from 2000 – 2008
• Fire Prevention Officer, Lagos Command from 2008 – 2013
• Zonal Commander, North-West Zone from 2013-2014
• Commandant Training School, Lagos from 2014- 2015
• DCF in charge of Training and Development, HQ, Abuja from 2015-2016
• Operational Commander, Abuja Command from 2016-2017
• Principal Staff Officer to the Former CG from 2017-2018
• Zonal Commander, North East from 2018-2019
• ACG in charge of Inspection, Investigation and Enforcement (IIE) from 2019-2021
Abdulganiyu Jaji is a fellow and member of several professional bodies amongst which are:
• Member Institute of Fire Engineers (MIFireE)
• Member Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN)
• Member Nigeria Society of Engineers (MNSE)
• Member, Fire Protection Association of Nigeria
• Fellow, Occupational Safety & Health Association UK.
Abdulganiyu Jaji also attended several courses and training which include:
- Training for Work in Breathing Apparatus, Emergency Rescue Operations in the Emergency Area (Emergency Rescue Instructor), Fire Investigation, Responding to Incidents Involving Chemical, Radioactive, and Nuclear Substances at University Of Mes, Belarus (2021);
- Disaster Management Rescue at International Cooperation Program of the Government of Korea (2016);
- National Workshop for Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons (2016);
- Counter-Terrorism and Irregular Migration Course with the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre (2016);
- DSS Crisis Simulator Training (Exercise Goldrush) at Armed Forces Simulation Centre, Jaji (2015);
- Fire Investigation Course at National Fire Academy (2015);
- Fire Safety Training Refresher Course at Boke Safety Solutions (2013);
- Fire Safety Sprinklers Training at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services (UK) 2008;
- Risk Management and Loss Prevention with the Fire Protection Association of Nigeria (Fpan) 2008
He has served as a member of several ad-hoc committees which include:
- Joint Committee on Peace and Security Forum (Psf);
- Committee on National Authority on Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention;
- Security Committee on INEC;
- Committee on National Human Right Commission of Nigeria.
While many have since commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the appointment of Abdulganiyu Jaji as Controller General of the Federal Fire Service, his pedigree and outstanding profile with the dogged approach he has brought to the fore in ensuring the effective discharge of the mandate of the Service has put no one in doubt that he is indeed ready to lead the apex firefighter agency in Nigeria towards saving lives, safeguarding property and indeed the environment.
Adagher, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja.