Today I got a visit from an official from Fire and Safety Services, Lagos, Nigeria! The guy walks into my office saying he has my Fire Safety Certificate and I needed to pay N10,500 for it. N10,500? Just like that? I was surprised. When did I request for it, I thought to myself. Here is how our conversation went.
Professor Ike (PI): When did you come to inspect and carry out an assessment?
He was taken aback by my question. He tried to find a good explanation but he just sucked some more.
Fire Safety Guy (FSG): Don’t you guys have fire extinguishers? At least I have seen it before.
PI: We do have some.
FSG: So that’s ok, that’s why I have brought this certificate.
I looked at him and shook my pretty head. I politely reply.
PI: So how do you know we still have it or have serviced it in the last one year though? I am into Safety a lot and Safety is what I do. Ideally you need to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment and give us recommendations where required and even warnings where we are failing.
The guys looks at me defeatedly.
FSG: The fire extinguisher is from Federal, I am from State. Once Federal has touched something, State cannot say anything. We have to comply. Since you bought from Federal, it’s ok. We gave certificate last year and Madam says we can continue,
In my mind, I was thinking “That is the dumbest s**t I have ever heard”. So the certificate isn’t mandatory? He just wants my money? I had given up by this time. The guy was obviously too ignorant and blabbing rubbish.
PI: You see the problem with Nigeria? So Federal does a bad job and State follows suit. That’s why we are heading nowhere.
The guy couldn’t really answer so I asked how we are supposed to make payment and that I will discuss with madam. yeah right
FSG: Yes o. They make it bad for we Safety guys. Cash. I will issue a receipt.
In my mind “you, safety?” Hell freaking no! Cash payment? So no bank account and an untraceable payment? For real?! I knew now I had to dismiss this guy so I ask for the certificate…
PI:Anyway where is this certificate? I will show it to Madam, we will decide and give you a call tomorrow. Is the certificate compulsory though?
He leaves his number and leaves my office.
I looked at the certificate and it looks really good. No one in their right mind would think we were never assessed properly. And then we wonder why we still get it wrong when it comes to Fire Safety when even the Fire Service is highly incompetent? Their so called Safety personnel lack basic Safety knowledge and are as corrupt and crooked as they come.
My certificate read – “Has satisfied the Fire Safety requirements to operate. The Fire Safety Certificate is issued in strict compliance with the conditions prescribed in the Fire Service Regulations 1988”. STRICT compliance?
Why can’t government bodies just do the right thing?! Fire and Safety Services in Nigeria is truly a JOKE or are we being scammed by some fake employee? Apparently not. Everyone including madam (my mum) know him. It’s the way things have always been done. Time for a change. No?