Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
With over 500 of its military personnel deployed in the ongoing African led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has handed over about 1,110 metric tonnes of assorted relief materials to Malian Government for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of the ongoing armed conflict in the region.
The items were transported in 37 trucks and delivered by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Bamako, the capital of Mali at the weekend.
NEMA also at weekend, delivered relief items to assist victims who were affected by last year’s storm in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital to rebuild their houses destroyed by the disaster.
A statement issued by NEMA’s Head of Public Relations, Mr. Yashua Shuaib, quoted the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, as saying the relief intervention was on the directive of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Sani-Sidi said the President directed that an urgent delivery of the emergency materials should be made to the affected population in addition to the deployment of a contingent of the Nigeria military to ensure return to normalcy in Mali.
The items, he said, comprised foods, clothing, household utensils, detergent, antiseptic, mosquito nets and beddings.
The statement stated that NEMA’s Director of Search and Rescue, Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, led the team of aid and emergency workers to Mali.
“The recent draught and the ongoing armed conflict in northern Mali, occasioned by insurgency and rebellion have created a serious humanitarian crisis and displacement of persons in the country. It becomes necessary for friendly nations to render logistic and humanitarian assistance and to restore normalcy and avert the spill over of the unfortunate event to the border areas of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritain and other countries in the sub-region,” the statement added.
Presenting the items to Mali’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Mamadou Sidibe, at the Nigerian Embassy in Bamako, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Mali, Mr Iliya Ali Nuhu, said the gesture was in line with mutual cooperation and the friendly relations between the two countries.
He said the gesture also demonstrated collective solidarity towards sustaining peace and stability in the West African sub-region.
Receiving the items, Sidibe described the gesture as timely, and therefore, thanked the people and government of Nigeria for the humanitarian effort which he said would further strengthen the existing ties between the two countries.
“Our country and the people indeed appreciate Nigeria’s participation in the ongoing military support mission in northern Mali and we shall remain grateful for this gesture,” he said.
The minister, who assured that the relief items will be delivered to the victims within a week, said Mali urgently needs humanitarian assistance following the closure of Mauritanian and Algerian borders because of the ongoing armed conflict in northern Mali.