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05.11.2005 General News

Is the Ghana National Fire Service dying or dead?

By Public Agenda
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If the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive, and I do not doubt that He is, then he either does not know the route to the Ghana National Fire Service in Accra, or has conveniently forgotten the way there, or does not even bother that he has sons and daughters there too. As for Christ Jesus, he knows nothing about fire and therefore the GNFS is a non-starter. If God and Jesus can ignore the ordinary ranks at the GNFS, do you think President Kufuor can blink his big, wide eyes, or seductive anti-like eyes, or smell out anything at Atenga's Palace in Accra? Big question.

The thing is, at Atenga's Palace near the Headquarters of the Ghana Police Service, Cantonments, there is nothing going on; decadence, lack of spirit, and reason; accommodation; kululu; contamination; poor salaries; lack of vehicles and as for the guards on operational duties, bread and water is what the Chief Fire Officer has ordered for the poor men who perform their duties responsively, dedicatedly, with loyalty discipline, and humility.

The proximity of the miniature HQ of the GNGS to the imposing edifices of P.K. Acheampong's House, the Police Headquarters, explains exactly why the Ghana National Fire Service has been reduced to something but nothing making the junior ranks there sit on anything but thorns.

The very nearness of the Ghana National Fire Service to the Police Headquarters exposes the weaknesses, of the Service (Fire) to the luxuriousness of the other Service (Police). Ghana is full of nonsense. Certainly.

Factotum: The operational officers or guards on 24-hour duty at the GNFS are a poor lot. Contrary to what happens at the Police Headquarters, those on Fire operational duties are poorly fed. The guards stand by for fire-call, any emergency fire-call, to which they have to respond rapidly and do a good job, as they have always done. But, with my own eyes, I have seen what they eat. They do not only look hungry, they ARE hungry! They are not only POORLY fed, they feed on bread which they buy with their own 'bread'. They buy the bread with their sketchy salary, and then enjoy it with water, aqua, H2O, unseasoned. As an inquisitive but investigative journalist, I saw them regale themselves with their bread and water. Oliver Twist could have done better. Excuse: There is no kitchen to cook for them. What nonsense! Of course, there is a private person running a kitchen at the GNFS. But, who the hell, is a junior rank to go and eat there? With that money. The Moneytocracy is only close to Foolish-tocracy.

Comparatively, the Police have-always had a Kitchen which stupendously feeds its guards on operational duties. The junior ranks are fed three times a day; breakfast, lunch and supper. Not so with the Fire Service operators. If the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were alive, he would have helped out the poor folk. But, he, too, seems to be absent or unwilling to do the right thing, according to Vice-Pee Aliu. So, should E.A. Atenga bother? As for salary, or salaries, the more said, about the matter, the worse; the worse for it. No junior rank can travel beyond one-and one-half week with that idiocy. Money for light. No kudi for rent. No welfare. No, no, no this; no that. Promotion: Promotional examinations are conducted every three years. But what are these leprous paper-fighting for? What do they mean? Nothing. There is no authenticity in these examinations. There is kululu in them. Whatever money is used to conduct these examinations ought to be used to promote the welfare of the Fire Service workers.

There are people who cannot even spell “Atenga” and yet would pass these exams. By jelly, yes! And contrarily, those who know fail these rotten examinations. Where, at all, is the God of Abraham?

The Ghana National Fire Service needs a Hospital. Necessarily. Seriously. The workers here go to any hospital and pay for the services. In fact, the National Health Insurance Scheme is yet to reach here. What it has been established for, what it means, is nothing to Fire Service workers. Question: -Where do we, as workers, belong in so far as the NHIS is concerned? Where is the God of Isaac? Transportation: Is another headache. Assistant Chief Fire Officers, equivalent to Assistant Commissioners of Police, have the humble task of removing their perks (ranks) after close of work and then join the fray in looking for trotro. What almighty shame. The Ghana National Fire Service has no vehicles. So, where is the God of Jacob? Accommodation: There is none at all for recruits. And recently-passed out recruits or personnel stay in the Crew Room. The GNFS has no barracks, or any such meaningful name, to adorn its colours.

The Police have. Galore. Could Christ Jesus whisper in the ears of President Kufuor and Kufuor Defence and Owsu-Ankomah, Papa, and drum it into their oblongata that Atenga is helpless to do something about the plight of his men, women, folk and misericordiae!

Atenga, do something before you die. Walahi. Communication: In this era of technological advancement, the Ghana National Fire Service seems to have no fire here. Communications equipment is not working. There is no external communication and the internal one is not working either. Should we now appeal to God Himself? Uniform: Uniform is supplied. According to my sources, only once; when you pass out. “If it wears out, “my sources informed me, “then we can go back and ask, 'Is the God of Jacob, Isaac and Abraham still there' “

This is but just a gist of the long list of trials and tribulations, woes and problems of the junior ranks, especially at the Ghana National Fire Service.

Could it be that the Ghana National Fire Service is dead? Or dying? Big question.

My information, source fumed, “The question we fire personnel want to ask the Kufuor government is 'Is it because we are not using gun to make coup that is why you are not minding us?' When we asked for operational allowance, government refused. Government asked us to negotiate. The Police did not have to negotiate. We were asked to defend. The Police did not have to. Nor was it so with the military. What then is fair play? What is social justice? What is equitable development? What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. What is good for Kpoti, should be good for Fire-man.”

Is this Nkrumah's land of Freedom and Justice? Well, we wait for the answer. Maybe, we can ask the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: Where is the route to the Ghana National Fire Service. Is the Service dead or dying?

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