Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has attributed the debilitating flood disaster witnessed in the country this year to climate change.
The agency said the way to mitigate future occurrence of such disaster, was for everybody to become environmentally-conscious.
Agency advised governments at all level to build buffer dams where there are need to build some.
It equally advised the people in flood plains to move to higher grounds.
The Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, disclosed this at the end of the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar.
A statement by NEMA’s Head of Public Relations, Mr. Yushua Shuaib, quoted Sani-Sidi as saying that climatic condition and drastic change in whether pattern contributed to massive flooding witnessed in many states in Nigeria.
The massive flood had resulted in loss of lives and sources of livelihood worth billions of naira.
Sani-Sidi said: “We are now living witnesses to the reality of climate change and global warming where areas considered as dry land in the northern part of the country witnessed excessive and torrential rainfall while some communities in the South were also submerged.
“NEMA has received tremendous support from all stakeholders during the recent flooding in many parts of the country; this is the first time we would have good collaboration with stakeholders during emergency response period.”
“However, the law establishing NEMA states that there shall be state and local government emergency management agencies; but unfortunately, not many states have functional and effective institutional framework to manage disasters.”
Sani-Sidi said within the limits of its resources, the agency had responded well to the recent flood disaster, which affected about 25 per cent of the country by mobilising its personnel to provide rescues and relief services to victims.
“State governments must be serious about emergency management and local government authorities must also be serious; we need to create awareness and build capacity so that we can reduce our people’s vulnerability.”
On NEMA’s participation at COP 18, the director-general said as disaster managers, the agency found the conference relevant, especially with the country’s recent experience of natural disasters attributed to climate change.