The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has continued to strengthen existing partnership with the major stakeholders in disaster management in Nigeria for efficient and effective responses to emergency situations in the country as it prepares for 2011 Election.
Director General NEMA Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Sidi made this known in Abuja during separate visits to the headquarters of the Nigerian Red cross Society, Federal Fire Service, Nigeria Police and and at a Simulation Exercise in Jaji.
The NEMA boss said the move was imperative to create the required synergy and overcome any challenge as disaster management was a collective responsibility as NEMA is desirous to carry along all the stakeholders.
Alhaji Sani-Sidi said he believed in the spirit of the teamwork and the visits were also aimed at appreciating the organizations for their usual cooperation and to solicit for more of such cooperation and advice. He said NEMA was identifying with the stakeholders to harness their specialized training and skills as first responders in the event of emergency.
In their separate responses, heads of the organizations expressed their willingness to cooperate with NEMA for disaster management in the country. At the Red Cross office, the National President Chief Rochas Okorocha said the society has about 500, 000 volunteers which could be mobilized at any given time to support activities of NEMA. The Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Hafiz A. Ringim, also promised to deploy the police to provide the necessary security at disaster areas.
Also at the Federal Fire Service the Comptroller General Engr. Olusegun James Okebiorun, commended the management of NEMA for initiating policies and structures for comprehensive disaster management in the country. He said as first responder agency, the fire service would has always been on standby to respond to any emergency, since the primary function of NEMA is to coordinate stakeholders in the event of emergency.
Meanwhile the agency has mobilized the stakeholders in disaster management to prepare ahead of the 2011 general elections to ensure safety of the citizens. Sani-Sidi said that the recent global trends have necessitated the preparations in bringing together the stakeholders to create required synergy and identify roles for safety, particularly in public places. He spoke in Jaji, Kaduna state through NEMA’s Director Search and Rescue Air Commodore Abayomi A. Bankole who represented him at the opening of a simulation exercise organized by the Agency in collaboration with the Armed Forces simulation Centre.
He said the recent Abuja blasts in October and similar experiences elsewhere in the world have opened a new dimension for disaster management to ensure greater safety in public places therefore, NEMA together with the stakeholders have risen to the challenge in line with its mandates on disaster coordination, preparation, mitigation and response.
He therefore, urged the stakeholders to cooperate with NEMA and take advantage of the simulation exercise to identify their various roles and make in puts where necessary.
Also speaking, Director of the Armed Forces Simulation centre Major General Godwin Umoh said the exercise was designed to simulate a real life scenario to equip the participants with practical lifesaving skills.