By Gwabo Gwaza Godwin
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has organized a three-day workshop to review the National Contingency Plan for Nigeria.
In his address at the workshop, which kicked off yesterday, October 19, 2022 in Makurdi, Benue State for the North Central Zone, the Director-General of NEMA, Mr. Mustapha Habib Ahmed, stressed the need for stakeholders in disaster management to marshal out proactive disaster management plan and system to reduce losses during disaster or emergency situations in the country.
The DG NEMA, represented by the NEMA North Central Zonal Coordinator, Mr Eugene Nyelong said it was universally recognized fact that “preparedness before occurrence of disaster helps to a large extent to reduce both human and property losses”.
According to him, efficient organisation and detailed plan help to mitigate the impact of disasters and also lead to early recovery and rebuilding of affected segment of the society.
“It is in the light of this, that NEMA in collaboration with UNICEF is reviewing the National Contingency Plan for the country at the sub-national level.
“The review strategy adopted is bottom up, with a consultative and participatory approach; hence, the caliber of stakeholders present in this workshop,” he said.
The Director-General appreciated UNICEF for making the workshop a reality and participants that came from states within the regions adding: “I charge participants to make useful contribution to enrich the working document”.
In his remarks, the Emergency Specialist in UNICEF, Mr Yinka Afolabi, said that UNICEF, NEMA and its partners wanted to achieve a bottom up approach to contingency planning by getting the states (sub-nationals) more committed to addressing disaster issues within their localities.
“We want the states to domesticate this contingency plan and use it to act or even hold their state government accountable and see what they can do in terms of appropriate actions and materials needed in emergency disasters.
“We are looking at a situation that the state will take lead action on local emergency situations; the Federal Government through NEMA and other partners can come in and fill-up the gap they cannot easily fill,” Afolabi said.
He said that participants would look into mitigating the effect of disasters, specifically to know how to deal with children, aged people, livelihood, water, sanitation and hygiene issues when disasters occur and to check poverty that comes with disasters.
Also, Mrs Chisom Adimorah of UNICEF admonished the participants on the importance of preparedness and response planning as a critical element of disaster mitigation.
While welcoming participants to the workshop, Dr. Emmanuel Shior, Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), stated that it is a privilege to host the workshop in Benue State and emphasized the Benue State Government’s readiness to provide an enabling environment for all Humanitarian Partners to carry out their operations.
He commended NEMA and UNICEF for organizing the workshop with the hope, that it would produce a fruitful outcome in bringing about long-term solutions to various disasters.