Diversion Of Staff Allowances To Personal Pocket In Anambra Fire Service (Report)
The fire incident of Wednesday 16th of October 2019 was a tragedy of enormous proportions. It was a sad day for the people of Anambra and a wakeup call for the government of Anambra State to give firefighting the attention it deserves through proper equipment and staffing of the Anambra Fire Service. A fuel tanker incident around MCC Onitsha spiraled into a fire disaster on the popular Ochanja market, razing down structures and goods worth hundreds of millions of Naira. There was a general outcry on the inefficiencies and deficiencies of the Anambra fire service prompting the then governor Dr Willie Obiano to order an investigation into the affairs of the State fire service with a view to ascertaining their capabilities and mobilization of the necessary interventions
The investigations revealed that firemen receive only ₦10 (Ten Naira) as their hazard allowances monthly, shockingly. The former Governor ordered immediate raise of the harzard funds to ₦20,000 a month. In addition to the monetary increment, he acquired two new Innoson fire trucks. Further investigations also put the total firemen in Anambra to 80, with about 25 nearing retirement. He therefore approved the recruitment of about 110 new firemen to boost and rejig the workforce.
Investigation by ANAMBRA PEOPLE revealed that between August 2021 to April 2022, Anambra state recorded more than 60 fire incidences and over 20 of those incidences did not record the presence of Anambra Fire Service. One begins to wonder why the firemen suddenly became unresponsive and less passionate towards their jobs.
Examples of the recent fire incidences are the Upper Iweka tanker fire incident in February, 2022. A fire truck appeared on the scene after an hour since the inferno started despite the closeness of fire stations (Okpoko, Ochanja, Main market). Usually, those stations either claim that they had no serviceable truck or available firemen on sight. Other notable incidents were the tanker fire incidents at Ihiala in September 2021 and April 2022 which razed down shops, buildings, businesses and residential structures worth billions of naira. The first Ihiala fire incident in September 2021 prompted ex-governor Willie Obiano to provide a serviceable truck to Ihiala fire station located at the local government head Quarters Ihiala with a road-show around town to create awareness. People were elated until the April 2022 incident which saw a fire truck arrive the scene after about 1hr 30mins of the raging inferno. It is important to note that the truck which eventually appeared on the scene came all the way from Awka. Needless to say that the fire had already wrecked great havoc on people’s properties. The lateness of the truck to the scene of the incident prompted angry fire victims to attack the fire truck.
These are aside fire incidences at Nnewi, Mobil filing station at Awka, the Agulu fire incident that occurred on the 26th December, 2021 which burnt over 12 persons beyond recognition, etc.
ANAMBRA PEOPLE began investigations to unravel the challenges facing Anambra Fire Service with a view to proffering the way forward in achieving the supposed aim of the fire service which is “saving lives and properties”.
From our findings, people’s perception about the Anambra fire service since the Ochanja fire disaster dropped drastically. Over 40% of people we interviewed confirmed they won’t bother to call fire service, 20% agreed they would call fire service but wouldn’t expect any quick responses, another 20% said they would call fire service with high hopes while 20% said they would call the fire service but wouldn’t believe in the effectiveness or efficiency when they finally arrive.
Again, some of the firemen we interviewed in the course of our investigations on the condition of anonymity confirmed the poor state of the Anambra Fire Service.
Here are our findings under the following subheadings;
Anambra fire service is a department in the ministry of public utilities. To be employed under the Ministry of Public Utilities, you must either be an Engineer or a WAEC holder. To be posted to work in fire service, you must either have a degree or HND in Mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or civil engineering as a senior officer. If you don’t have the above qualifications, you will be admitted with only your O’ Level as a junior officer or a file as their term goes.
However during the recruitments approved by the then state governor Dr Willie Obiano in 2021, degree holders from other disciplines (apart from the three acceptable engineering courses earlier mentioned) were accepted by the civil service commission into the fire service fold, these make up to 38 of about 110 new recruits while over 40 others were just WAEC holders.
By implication, these 38 degree holders were sent to other ministries as their mother ministry and were redeployed to fire service as firemen. This implies that their mother ministry will pay their salaries but they would be working and earning allowances in fire service. For example if Mr Okafor who studied mass communications was part of the new recruits as a degree holder, he would be sent to the ministry of information for documentation as his mother ministry and then redeployed to serve in fire service for which the employment was made. His salary would be worked under the ministry of information but he will not receive any allowances from the ministry of information since he was posted back to fire service as his place of primary assignment. He would then receive allowances designed for firemen.
Unfortunately, these 38 men have not received a single hazard allowance from fire service since they started work in 2021. They were told that since they don’t belong to the ministry of utilities, they are not eligible to receive the hazard. This is regardless of the fact that they keep fighting fire and facing hazards. Their counterparts who were employed under the ministry of utilities receive their 20,000 naira monthly leaving these 38 heartbroken and without a desire or passion to carry out their responsibilities efficiently.
Several attempts to reach the fire chief Engr Agbili Martin proved futile. We however understand that these 38 men are spread across the 11 fire stations across the state and if they lose passion for the job, it will definitely affect the morale of their colleagues and dampen their passion for their risky job.
We are yet to receive any responses from the office of the head of service or the ministry of utilities but our investigators found out that these allowances meant for these 38 gentlemen might have been continuously diverted to personal pockets from August 2021 till date and it amounts to ₦8,360,000. The only excuse is that they don’t belong to the ministry of utilities. It is a lame excuse, obviously.
The primary aim of every government is protection of lives and property. Security isn’t just making sure that the State is rid of criminal elements. It is also about ensuring that possible hazards like fire are prevented and/or prepared for. This means that having a robust firefighting service is indispensable for every responsive government. It is a proactive measure. The robustness of the fire service isn’t just about provision of sufficient firefighting equipment. It is also about ensuring that those who risk their lives and limbs as fire fighters are well remunerated and motivated. These remunerations should include health insurance and life insurance packages. It is the least any serious government can do to attract FDI. The New York City Fire Department has over ten thousand uniformed firefighting employees. The government should do well to rejig the firefighting service of Anambra State, looking into issues of remuneration and other incentives for optimal performance. Please keep a date with us next week as we discuss other areas that enable the poor performance and the inefficiencies of the Anambra Fire Service.
31 thoughts on “Diversion Of Staff Allowances To Personal Pocket In Anambra Fire Service (Report)”
To make our dear State liveable, each person must strive and start doing what is right. The future of the family and children we feel we are amassing this wealth for will definitely be doomed when the centre can no longer hold due to all on-going selfishness.
This is a total lie!! I’m among the newly recruited 120 Fire Fighters. The Fire Chief, Engr Martin Agbili(Agility), work hard and made sure that we are paid our Hazard Allowances till date!.
Please mind how you tarnish people’s imagine in other to gain traffic in your blog.
Fire Chief gives his all to Anambra State Fire Service to see it work.
Till date, I receive my Salary with my allowance intact!!
Please as you receive your allowances, those others receive their own? Besides why are you guys so ineffective?
Checking if comment can display before I will comment
The memo for payment of hazard was specific to those whose designation reads Fireman/Fire Officer hence to extend such allowances to those employed as Livestock, accountant, trade officer etc, and posted back to work at Fire service an approval must be obtained from authorities involved
Confidence the article says some gets while others don’t, you might be receiving your own but what of those who don’t receive theirs. I trust the government will look into all civil servants denied their allowances and do the needful. Those who fight fire should receive their allowances as at when due because their jobs are too risky. You can’t be fighting fire yet get stories at the end of the day
Time of call determines Time of response. When their is fire outbreak, victims just gather, shout and make videos. By the time they will remember that their is Fire Service, the fire would had burned a whole lot.
And remember how bad Nigerian roads are.
And yes, we all receive our allowances. I wonder the ingrate that granted this interview.
Because I don’t understand where this wickedness is coming from, the Fire Chief I know will sacrifice his ownsalary for others.
Why is this approval so difficult to get for firemen who labour day and night to fight fire?
I heard about this denial of allowances from a brother in Anambra fire service and I thought it was a lie, I hope the culprits are brought to book
Pls make sure you gather facts from a reliable source, before posting, I advised that Engr. Dr Martin Agbili, is the head Anambra state fire service and he is in the right position to clarify us based on the salary scale because as far as am concerned am one of the new recruit and am receiving my full payment and he has promised those that haven’t started receiving hazard allowance that he is working on it because there are due process in government work, permit me to say that no salary has been diverted.
Well it’s good to hear from you because this article seems to indict unknown persons. Fr what you said this due process from the government is a problem since these 38 officers for 11 months are yet to get their allowances. The government should do something and quick, the governor can’t promise to save lives and properties yet firemen won’t be able to get their allowances over some stupid bottlenecks
Hahahahahahaha so this is the change Soludo is offering Anambrarians hahahaha, he can’t even pay fire fighters their allowances
Well whoever that posted this under -informed piece is really ignorant of how things works in the fire service and also from the civil service.
His caption of this work is misleading and an attempt to create mischief.
First he stated that the fire service is pocketing the allowances of it’s firemen. Which is absolutely false because some of newly employed firemen who has the criteria that where needed for the job are receiving there allowances from the time that they started receiving there salary.
Those 38 firemen that you claimed to have been denied of there allowances where the first set to receive there salaries.
But duo to your quest to create traffic on your blog you have created a tornado that may consume you.
Not only the Fire chief but you also rub mud to the Anambra state civil service, the ministry and the whole Anambra state as a whole.
Be ready for the repercussions for character defamation.
My brother and his friend works with fire service and they said that they haven’t received their allowances since last year. They only get their basic salaries without allowances. A comment here previously by someone who claims anonymous said that an approval is needed before they start getting their allowances yet here you are lying against your colleagues because you probably get yours while they suffer
Firstly, I am part of these so called 38 firemen who were said to be denied their allowances. I want to first thank the Anambra state government for employing about 120 of us just so the service will have enough hands to secure lives and properties. We remain indebted to both the Anambra state government, the fire chief, the state civil service and all who worked tirelessly to get us in as quickly as possible. I mentioned the fire chief Engr Agbili Martins particularly because he refused himself any sleep until we all got our letters, passed through rigorous trainings and resumed work in the most peaceful and welcoming atmosphere possible. To cut the long story short, we were made aware of the complications regarding our employment and the fact that approvals are needed in order for our allowances to be paid due to the fact that our salaries are not coming from the same source but from different ministries. We were also assured that afterwards, our arrears will be paid as well. We were surprised seeing this mischievous article which will rather cause more harm than good. The public should please disregard this news and rather wave it off as a plot to tarnish the image of Anambra fire service
I agree with you totally my brother, I am also one of the 38 affected but we all were expecting payments from this month with our arrears, I wonder what caused this write up
My brother, you said it all. I am also one of the affected persons, Fire Chief, Engr. Dr. Martin Agbili has not only helped us gain the employment but also has been working so hard for that hazardous allowance to be paid.
When I read this news I was shocked, as one of the 38 mentioned here, I wondered whether the writer even understands how civil service works let alone Anambra State civil service under the leadership of Governor Soludo. We have been assured that all paper works have been concluded for our payments to start off before now. Maybe journalists should try verifying their news before posting. Engr Agbili Martins the fire chief have been working tirelessly to see to our allowances being paid with the commissioner for utilities and the HOS. Why this?
I was newly recruited and I received my appointment letter last year with other gallant 120 men to serve this noble state in fire service. We have really enjoyed one of the best work atmosphere courtesy of the fire chief Engr Agbili Martins. When we met last, he assured us that everything has been put in place to ensure we received our due from this month including our arrears. This article is just laughable
I have read this article and I wish to commend the journalist for a great job. We seriously need whistle blowers in our civil service to ensure civil servants gets what they deserve. This issues go beyond fire service, it’s in all ministries and if investigations are carried out, culprits will be found. From reading comments here I also found out that firemen who have commented all agree to the fact that some firemen are being owed months of allowances which the writer says “might have been diverted…” If thorough investigations are conducted the public should be told what really happened with a proof that the rightful owners get their money back. I trust gov Soludo solutions, he’ll come up with a solution quickly
How can it be said that an unapproved money was diverted? We still await approvals which according to our superiors will be gotten as soon as this month. The governor made it clear through the head of service when she visited all ministries that the welfare of civil servants are at the helm of his concerns. She assured us that all our needs will be handled as soon as possible of which the payment of our allowances has been atop the necessaries our fire chief Engr Agbili Martins has been working on. By this months salaries, we know that we’ll certainly get it so this article rather pointed accusing fingers to the wrong persons
See attacks on journalism hahahahahaha, when shall this country grow up to understand that there’s what we call freedom of press. I pledge from today to always visit this blog for updates since it’s the only blog that is bold to expose the decays in the system
One thing I’m sure of is that our indefatigable governor Charles Soludo will look into this matter and give it the attention it deserves, I await the refutable from the government and comfort for the affected. Besides, why are we not talking about the expose on the fire service responses during fire outbreaks?
Please we need you to come investigate the ministry of education, alot is really happening there… God help us
I hope the governor saw this, I know Agility very well and was surprised to see that some within his dept are suffering unpaid allowances. One thing I know for sure about Agility is that he must have done everything in his power to get this monies paid. I wonder the bottlenecks being encountered for 11 months. Let me also thank Agility for how he controlled the fuel tanker fire that nearly burnt our church down yesterday at Amansea, God bless him greatly
Just as It’s a culture in fire service to pray against fire disaster daily it’s also a culture for us the newly recruited to pray for our fire chief Engr Agbili Martins for all his work to not only keep us happy but to make us better daily as human beings. He will always tell us that the new governor Prof Charles Soludo is a man who doesn’t take nonsense or 99.9% of efforts but 100% every minute of the day. Assurances about our allowances is one thing he has been hammering daily for some of us in the HQ who work closer with him. The subject of this news is misleading and will only cause harm than good
Why should a fireman be owed allowances for 11 months with several excuses? One thing I don’t like about this article is that these 38 men might face witch hunting from the powers that be and might even face worse just because the truth came out. I hope the governor does the right thing to heed to their plea
I do not know who the jealous writer is working for but, God shall judge him.
The Fire Chief, Engr. Dr. Martin Agbili (Agility) has been relentlessly pursuing the approval for such payment before this demon showed up. Which money was diverted? Yet to be approved one? Is this not madness in the most frivolous and mean manner?
The writer is so senseless that he did not know that unapproved fund is never accessed let alone diverted in civil service. Everything has procedure. This is no exception.
Maybe the money was diverted into his father’s private pocket, anumanu. This is how they go about blackmailing innocent people who sacrifice everything for the safety and security of ndi Anambra.
Do you know what it costs to earn the integrity the Fire Chief enjoys today? Do you think it is earned by doing dirty jobs? Do you know what sacrifice Agility has made? The writer sits down uselessly and thinks he can undo God’s grace on the Fire Chief. May God judge you and your conspirators adequately.
The writer, his conspirators and those gullible idiots who support this blackmailing of the Fire Chief who laid his life and that of his men to save ndi Anambra to the best of their abilities, may this kind of blackmail, jealousy, envy etc dwell in your family and your endeavours. May this blackmail locate you at every point of your life and may you never get off the chains of this destructive act until you confess publicly.
May God continue to bless and protect the Fire Chief, Engr Dr Martin Agbili and his men for humanitarian sacrifices.
Why does this write up smell of suspiciousion🤔🤔 I can’t see anywhere where it was mentioned that anyone in particular diverted the money. I think this article was so clear on the fact that these men haven’t been paid for months and that the money “might have been diverted” is someone trying so hard to free himself from some chains already?🤔🤔 One thing I know is that Soludo if he has been made aware of this news will investigate why happened and proffer solutions appropriately. If approval like you said is the issue then let it be done to enable fire men do their duties gallantly. Anambra people should please investigate the police as well, so many evils are committed against officers by their superiors daily
It surprises me how investigative journalist Will just write report with huge alligation that is not truth without verification .
To set the record straight am among the 38 members of Anambra state fire service recruited last year by the state civil service and have received several months salaries including arrears .
The arrangement and approval for payment of our allowance is ongoing by the state government which we have be briefed and hoping it will manifest this month before this false allegations by ANAMBRA PEOPLE.
Let me state it clearly that nobody diverted any state allowance from fire anambra state fire service, mischief makers should stop hitting up the society in this time of precarious situation in Anambra state.
Again Anambra people you people should know too well that by this you peoples false allegations the 38 people mentioned in this article you have endangered there stay in the state civil service, if at all by the end they booted out of the service you people should endeavour to provide meaningful job for them or God will pay you back.
If firemen are punished because such entitlements are denied them then that would be our dear governor Prof Charles Soludo’s undoing. He should as a matter of fact apologize to them and pay them their dues accordingly. Humanitarian workers are treated better in civilized nations
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