The management of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has upgraded the Press unit to full-fledged Public Relations Division in 2011 to promote the activities of the agency through PR best practices. The division is actively involved in media relations, event management, crisis management, publications, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and coordinates media coverage.
The Public Relations office has the responsibilities of public awareness creation on disasters and activities of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The office also provides the window for global inter-face between the Agency and the public through the media and other means of public contacts.
The year 2013 began like any other. But there was evident spill over of the effects of the 2012 flood which had ravaged many communities and resulted in huge economic losses for the country. The public relations office remained focused and promoted media visibility of the Agency in providing necessary help to the affected persons and communities.
The unit ensured that all major activities of the Agency and information designed for the public were adequately covered by local and international media and widely publicized in print, electronic and social media platforms. Early warning alerts on the seasonal forecast for the year were also given priority.
For full coverage, the partnership with selected newspapers which publishes special weekly columns to highlight NEMA activities and topical disaster related stories was sustained throughout the year. The newspapers include Punch, Daily Trust, Blueprint, Peoples Daily and National Mirror. There was also the special weekly 30-minutes TV Magazine programme “Emergency Update” packaged and aired on the network services of the NTA, which continued to be on the air for most of the year. The TV programme is reputed to have exceeded the initial expectations by providing the opportunities for in-depth news analysis with very wide viewership and earned high public respects for the Agency.
Besides, The Public Relations office facilitated the packaging and airing of another special 30 minutes TV documentary aired on NTA, AIT and Silverbird televisions for more than a month on the special relief intervention by the Agency in the North East geopolitical region as result of the security challenges faced by the people in the area. From time to time, it also facilitated special media appearances on other national tv schedules and radio programmes such as “issues of the moment,” and “Radio links” on FRCN network.
The office has been very active in the dissemination of early warning disaster alerts. Thus, it has handled media publicity of alerts arising from warning against flood, ocean surge, fire disasters, epidemics, etc. It also coordinated the production and placement of radio and tv jingles in local languages (Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba) as well as the publication of the widely circulated special flood awareness posters.
The rapport existing between NEMA and the journalists covering its activities under the aegis of Journalists Against Disaster (JAD) has been enhanced. Similarly, the relationship with spokespersons of the major stakeholder organizations under the umbrella of Media Information Committee (MICEM) has also been sustained. The Agency holds retreats for members of the JAD and MICEM which is coordinated by the Public Relations Office. Special media visitations and interactions also held at intervals with news editors to keep tap with the news managers.
The use of on-line and social media in the publicity of NEMA activities has increased and the Agency is now highly rated with more than 35, 000 followers and active fans on facebook and twitter. The official web portal of NEMA has become more vibrant with regular updates users interactions including videos.
The Division facilitates regular publication of the NEMA monthly newsletters, special Newspaper Compendium and scorecard for identified periods of time.
The 2013 annual media retreat was held for the journalists that cover activities of the Agency. The retreat was anchored by the Media Consultant, Innocent Adikwu. Two directors; of Training (DOT)Engineer Daniel Balarabe Gambo as well as of Planning, Research and Forecasting (DPRF) Alhaji Alhassan Nuhu presented in depth insights into activities of the Agency in the year. These were followed by elaborate discussions that fostered mutual understanding and feedback from the media.