Fact Check Proves Oluremi Olowu was the first Female DG of NEMA, not Zubaida Umar

Fact Check Proves Oluremi Olowu was the first Female DG of NEMA, not Zubaida Umar


A Fact Check conducted by PRNigeria has faulted the Presidency’s statement claiming that Mrs Zubaida was the first female Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency.

In a press statement announcing Mrs Zubaida Umar’s appointment as DG NEMA, the Presidential Spokesperson, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, claimed that she is the first female DG of the pivotal agency.

However, a PRNigeria fact check has discovered that Ngelale’s claim is false and even misleading as Mrs Oluremi Olowu was the pioneer and female DG of NEMA.


Following the presidency’s statement, virtually all Nigerian media platforms have been awash with headlines and reports positioning Mrs Umar as the first female DG of NEMA.

“Mrs Umar is the first woman to be appointed as Director-General of this pivotal agency, and her appointment further underlines the President’s avowed commitment to gender inclusion,” says Ngelale in one of the reports.

Findings by PRNigeria show that the first DG of the NEMA was a female, Mrs Oluremi Olowu, as highlighted in reports by the International Network of Women in Emergency Management (PWM) and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

Similarly, in 2009, while celebrating NEMA at 10, the Economic Confidential noted that NEMA evolved from the National Emergency Relief Agency (NERA) set up by Decree 48 of 1976.

However, in 1997, NERA, under the leadership of the then-director, Mrs. Oluremi Olowu, organized a National Workshop involving major stakeholders in disaster management in Nigeria, including Oil Companies, construction companies, government and non-governmental organisations, and representatives of UNDP.

By 1998, the same Mrs Olowu of NERA assumed duty as the first DG of NEMA, where she served from 1998 to 2002, after which she voluntarily retired to join politics.

PRNigeria therefore concluded that Chief Ngelale’s claim that Mrs. Zubaida Umar is the first female DG of NEMA is FALSE.

By PRNigeria