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CROSS RIVER: Federal, State fire services at odds over revenue

A crisis is brewing between the Federal Fire Service (FFS), in Cross River State and its host state counterpart over the issue of revenue collection.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Cross River State Fire Service accused the FFS of encroaching into its areas of revenue generation.

The state’s fire service made this complaint in two separate letters to the Controller General and the South-South zonal controller of the FFS.

The letters, dated December 9, 2022, and signed by Sylvester Ndifon, Director of Cross River Fire Service and obtained by NAN, were also copied to the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.

The letter to the Controller General has as its ref: CRS/FSD/ADM/HQT. 1/Vol. 1/16 while that of the zonal Controller has as its ref: CRS/FSD/ADM/PRI. 1/VOl.1/129 and entitled “Notice of Gross Irregularities/Jurisdiction Encroachment at the Instance of Federal Fire Service Personnel in Cross River State likely to Cause Breach of Peace between the State and Federal Fire Service.”

Similarly, the letter to the zonal Controller has its heading as “Notice of Continuous Perpetration of Crime, Connivance and diversion of Cross River State Internally Generated Revenue to Federal Fire Service Coffers Controrary to Federal Republic and Nigeria Gazette and National Fire Service Code 2013.”

One of the letters accused the FFS of undermining the Cross River State government on the issue.

“This is to the extent that our notice letters concerning their gross irregularities and jurisdictional encroachment meant nothing to them as these misdeeds have increased in recent times.

“The increase is such that it seems the federal fire service is challenging the Cross River fire service to a contest against Service ethics and contrary to the federal republic of Nigeria gazette and national fire service code 2013,” it stated.

The state fire service appealed to the Attorney General of the state to step in to recover the monies the FFS had collected and returned same to the state’s coffers.

The letter to the Controller General claimed that the FFS could only collect fire service levies in the FCT and not in the states.

It appealed to the Controller General to address this unhealthy situation that may instigate rancour between the supposed partners in progress if nothing is done timely.

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