The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has noted with concern the recurrent fire incidents in the past few days, which have affected some communities and markets. It is on record that the unfortunate incidents have been characterized by complete razing down residential buildings, markets and other public buildings thereby leading to loss of lives and livelihoods.
Fire, like any other disaster has been part of human existence, but the frequency and impacts of this in recent weeks has necessitated a serious concern and call for action by all stakeholders including communities and individuals to address the rising losses from the disaster. In December last year, I had the cause to alert the public on the dangers of fire disasters during the dry season. As with the onset of the dry season, the present onset of the rain season is also characterized by typical windstorms that easily propagate combustible matter in form of dry vegetation and agricultural wastes constitute a strong driver to fire outbreaks.
The best firefighting technique is prevention. The best way to prevent a fire is to create awareness and develop a culture of safety and resilience among authorities, communities and individual members of the public.
As part of our responsibility to save lives and safeguard properties, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) deemed it necessary to call on all stakeholders including State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs), Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs), all tiers of governments, Fire Services, Health Services, Town Planning authorities, Security Agencies, Rescue Services, Communities, NGOs, CBOs, Schools, Markets, Factories and the media to help generate and disseminate the right awareness and prepare the public for necessary responses to fire disasters. Effort should aim at measures and procedures for averting fire outbreaks, early detection and timely response to save lives and minimize damage and economic loses.
All hands must to be on deck to reduce fire disasters and all associated human and material loses across Nigeria and beyond. Government agencies, corporate organizations, private businesses and individuals should endeavor to leverage on insurance companies to safeguard and protect their properties and businesses as a form of risk transfer in case of fire and other unforeseen disaster incidences. The main goal of NEMA and its partners is to save lives and properties and no effort and resources committed is too much or too little in this regards.
While reiterating our collective efforts towards the management of fire disasters in Nigeria, NEMA in the past few weeks has been responded to some of the incidents in providing relief supports to the affected persons. Furthermore, I have directed all NEMA Zonal and Operation Offices to work with the State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) to conduct joint assessments in communities affected by the disaster for consideration and supports from the Federal Government.
Mustapha Habib Ahmed
Director General, NEMA
13th March 2023