CSOs, Nigerians demand full details of ₦12 billion spent on firefighting trucks

Quadri Yahya

Nigerians are expressing outrage on social media over purchasing of 10 firefighting trucks for the sum of ₦12 billion by the Federal Government. 

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Abubakar Sirika disclosed the purchase and commissioning of the trucks via Twitter on Sunday.

“Just commissioned 10 Firefighting trucks, the total cost of over 12Bn Naira. More to come in due course. Safety has been the Buhari focus in Aviation, since 2015. Hitherto FAAN has not bought new trucks in 15 years”, Hadi wrote.

The minister’s post has generated criticism from many social media users, many of whom describe the expenditure as ‘reckless spending’.

There are also questions on the actual price of the trucks purchased, as many users allege price inflation.  

In a series of tweets on Monday, the Director of the Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts, Dr Sam Amadi admonished President Muhammadu Buhari, saying Nigerians should “put eyes on @MBuhari ministers and aides. They may steal the country dry.

Amadi, the former Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said the N1.2b for a firefighting truck might be child’s play.

He wrote, “Please these last days put your eyes on @MBuhari ministers and aides. They may steal the country dry.

“N1.2b for a firefighting truck might be a child’s play.

“When will they commence his prosecution? When?”

Another user, Erax_Supernova (@ERAGBELI) said the government could have purchased trucks without breaking its purse. 

“What kind of justification is this? Let’s assume there’s actually a gold-plated fire truck that costs USD 2 m. Must you buy that one? Are there no cheaper options? Imagine this in a country where a huge chunk of its population lives in poverty. God abeg o. We need Obi”.

Many Nigerians begged to know the specifications of the trucks purchased. 

In the same vein, a civic society organisation that aims at influencing society with accurate data and presentation, Orodata (@orodata), while commenting on Sirika’s post, disclosed that “until the name of the manufacturer, model, and features of the truck are deciphered, the public can only keep guessing”.

It added: “The price of a fire truck can vary depending on the type of truck, the features it has, and the manufacturer. However, as a general guide, the price of a fire truck in China can range from around $100,000 to $1 million.

“Here are some examples of fire truck prices from different manufacturers in China:

•Chengli Special Automobile Co., Ltd. sells a 4×2 ladder fire truck for around $150,000.

•Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co., Ltd. sells a 6×4 water tender fire truck for around $250,000.

•Dongfeng Motor Corporation sells a 4×2 rescue fire truck for around $100,000.

•Shaanxi Automobile Group Corporation sells a 6×4 pumper fire truck for around $200,000.

•Sinotruk Corporation Limited sells a 4×2 aerial fire truck for around $150,000.”

Meanwhile, another user, Ayodele (@1630Eoin), noted: “This Volkan truck is from a Turkish truck company and the price with full kits for 6×6 is $750,000. Why are you so heartless? You sold these trucks for $2.4 million per truck to Nigerians. To what end I asked again.”

Also, Ikechuckwu Oyenike (@itisikechukwu), wrote: “It will be very helpful if we know the specs of these firefighter trucks as you called them. Research so far has shown that in the most expensive scenario, one truck will cost $ 1.5 million and at CBN rate, it will be about N690 Million excluding logistics & training.”

Oluseyi Olowosulu (@seyisulu) also said: “The trucks in the video are the LION Class ARFF vehicles manufactured by Volkan. See the included link for more information. 

“It is NOT the Rosenbauer Panther as has been erroneously mentioned which is considered one of the most expensive fire trucks in the world.

But another user, MOOD OBEDIENT (@anonymousmoo), providing details about the truck from personal findings, urged the government to publish information on the exact trucks purchased. 

The user wrote: “I can confirm for a fact that Firefighting trucks are pretty expensive depending on the model and it would be in the interest of Nigerians to know the exact specification before drawing into conclusion.

“Yes, it’s also possible for the 10 Firefighting trucks to cost 12Bn Naira depending on the dollar exchange rate. 

“In fact, according to The Morning Call, a ladder truck for Forks, Indiana was estimated to cost $2.5 million.

“Dover fire department estimates it costs them $840,000 to put a fully equipped pumper engine on the road.

“Please inform the public of the exact Firefighting trucks purchased.”

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