Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to promote and strengthen cooperation through the development of technical cooperation towards a significant contribution to the reinforcement of emergency preparedness and response capacity in all tiers of government as heavy flooding looms in some states in the country.
At the signing ceremony of the agreement in Dakar, Senegal, the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi said the MOU with WFP is in furtherance of the drive to enhance the capacity of Nigeria in the area of emergency preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction as the country is about to witness another unprecedented flooding if governments at all levels are not alive to their responsibilities.
Sani-Sidi said: during the review of the MOU, NEMA asked for the renewal to be extended to 3 years instead of one year and also sought for the expansion of the scope to cover new areas like Geographical Information System (GIS) and Data Management which have been granted.
The Regional Director of WFP for Central and West Africa Bureau, Mr. Thomas Yanga who signed on behalf of the global body said the MOU provides guidance for partnership to develop joint capacity development programme and reinforce NEMA’s telecommunication capacity in an attempt to reinforce emergency preparedness.
He said that the partnership would ensure long-term solutions to the disasters preparedness and reductions in selected states by fostering cooperation and strengthening the working relationship of the parties.
The partnership would address seven core and priority areas of cooperation which include: Emergency Need Assessment; Data processing and GIS; emergency preparedness and response; disaster risk reduction, logistics, emergency telecommunication and post disaster livelihood and early recovery.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Senegal, Mrs. Azuka Cecilia Uzoka Emejulu who witnessed the occasion commended the partnership between the multilateral institution and a national body in Nigeria and calling on WFP to establish an office in Nigeria because of the country’s population, potentials and strategic location in the West African region.
Meanwhile in another development NEMA says disasters constitute a major disruption to the nation’s development process.
Muhammad Sani-Sidi, NEMA’s Director General, made this remark at the signing of a document, the National Disaster Management Framework (NDMF) in Abuja.
According to him, disasters lead to loss of lives, disruption of social networks and the destruction of capital investsments, among other things.
“When development plans are rolled out and disaster strikes, development funds are diverted to contain the emergency,” Mr Sani-Sidi said. “Additional aid is directed to relief and reconstruction needs to get the country back on track towards economic and social development.”
The director general urged the development of adequate procedures and systems to deal with situations which caused disasters. He averred that such mechanisms could be used for effective co-ordination of the human and physical resources in times of emergencies.
He said it was in line with this that NEMA took the initiative to develop the NDMF. According to him, the NDMF is a legal document offering a holistic approach to disaster management.
“It is a coherrent, transparent and inclusive policy for disaster management in Nigeria,” he explained, saying that the framework was written for all stakeholders in disaster management, with a focus on seven key areas such as institutional capacity, co-ordination, and disaster risk reduction. Others include disaster prevention, preparedness and mitigation, disaster response, disaster recovery, and facilitators or enablers.
Mr Sani-Sidi urged the government at all levels to critically examine the document and evolve effective ways to fulfill their mandates as oulined in the document. He called for effective inter-agency coordination and collaboration, to prevent conflicts, distrust and duplication of efforts.
Speaking on the document, Alhaji Nuhu Alhassan, NEMA’s director of Planning, Research and Forecasting, said the framework provided the basis for analysing and assigning specific roles and responsibilties to stakeholders.
He also said it provided information on plans, policies and procedures for managing disasters.
The highpoint of the event was the signing of the document by the representatives of the Civil Defence, Federal Fire Service, the Red Cross, Federal Road Safety Commission, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Health Organisation and the Federal Ministry of Health.
The NDMF seeks to identify, specify and align the responsibilities of the various jurisdictions and players in disaster management in Nigeria.
NEMA seeks to replicate the NDMF in the 36 states of the federation, with the 744 local government councils equally participating.
The move is to ensure that each of the states and councils fully establishes its emergency management committee to minimise the loss of lives and properties in the event of man-made or natural disasters.