The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established via Act 12, as amended, by Act 50 of 1999 to manage disasters in Nigeria. Therefore, from its inception, NEMA has been tackling disaster-related issues by establishing concrete structures and measures. Such measures include the education of the public to raise their level of awareness and reduce the effects of disasters in the country.
It is of note that stakeholders have raised concerns about the fulfilment of the agency’s mandate due to the leadership crisis that has characterised the agency’s operations. This medium believes that such a critical agency in Nigeria is deserving of credible leadership aimed at addressing disaster-related issues in the country.
The recent drive by the government in creating a ministry for humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development with supervisory functions over the agency is a step in the right direction. There have been tangible innovations in the operations of NEMA in the last two years. This is mainly attributable to the proper leadership direction provided by the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development.
NEMA Set Up 10-man Technical Working Group On Flood Mitigation, Response
One of the areas NEMA got it right is in the leadership choice that indeed hit the ground running in fulfilling the agency’s mandate. This is on the heels that the agency has experienced a leadership crisis that hindered the smooth operations of the agency over the years.
The recent appointment of Mustapha Ahmed Habib by President Muhammadu Buhari indeed signified a commitment to repositioning NEMA, as evident with the innovations introduced by the agency in preventing and managing disasters in the country. The new DG of NEMA is leaving no stone unturned in repositioning the agency by addressing those salient issues that held the agency back over the years.
Some of them include response time to disaster situations, equitable distribution of relief materials to victims of disasters, and sensitisation efforts towards disaster prevention.
All of these seem to be in the past as available records indicate a more proactive measure towards addressing disaster prevention and management in the country has assumed a new dimension under the agency’s new leadership.
One of such notable initiatives amongst a host of others is the collaboration between NEMA and the Kano State government in inaugurating the first Local Government Emergency Management Agency to serve as a model in disaster management at the local government areas.
Another notable initiative is the inauguration of an inter-agency national technical working group on flood preparation, mitigation, and response to improve flood intervention processes in the country.
This paper sees these initiatives as far-reaching in ensuring that the country responds to disasters and prevents disasters in line with globally accepted standards. This is a plus and an indication that the new leadership of NEMA under Mustapha Habib Ahmed has settled for business and consequently hit the ground running.
The various measures put in place by NEMA during the yuletide season helped in no small measure in minimizing cases of disasters. This is another commendable initiative of the NEMA leadership.
NEMA has also, in recent times, gone into collaborations with other agencies of government in the area of mitigating the effects of disasters across the country. This is also commendable and should be sustained to prevent and minimise the impact of disasters in the country. With the new drive at NEMA, the country is on the right path in disaster prevention and management.
The new drive at NEMA further reinforces the position that sound leadership is needed to put the county on the path of sustainable growth and development. The NEMA example should serve as a wake-up call to all saddled with the position of responsibility in the country towards effective service delivery.
Leaders across the strata must put the country’s interest first in service delivery. It is not impossible to bring about meaningful development in the country. And this can be made possible when leaders see service as a national call rather than an avenue for self-aggrandizement. The NEMA example is deserving of emulation
NEMA’s response to issues in fulfillment of its mandate is commendable. We encourage the agency’s director-general not to relent on his efforts at comprehensively repositioning the agency.