National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Following a review of the recent impacts of disasters in Nigeria, stakeholders in emergency management have adopted a position for the National Assembly to amend the Act that established the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to strengthen its roles in response to such situations.
A statement issued yesterday by NEMA’s Head of Public Relations, Mr. Yushau Shuaib, said stakeholders through its Technical Working Group have identified areas in the NEMA Act that require the amendment in a draft bill to be presented to the National Assembly.
He said members of the group were drawn from legal luminaries, legislature, academia, humanitarian institutions, professional groups, judiciary, civil society organisations, among others.
He also said the facilitator of the group, Professor Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan of Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State had explained that the focus of the proposed amendment was to expand the mandates and powers of NEMA to include lead coordination in the management of all types of disasters and all phases of internal displacement in Nigeria.
He quoted the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Dr Ali Ahmad, as saying during a workshop on the amendment that the issue of internal displacement has become a major concern due to the increasing frequency of disasters.
“Although the plights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is common knowledge to national authorities in Nigeria, unfortunately the national response is generally constrained by lack of comprehensive legal and policy frameworks, technical, human, material and financial capacity,” Ahmad noted. Therefore, he added that NEMA should be legally enhanced to handle the issues of the IDPs for being practically efficient and strategically located in the management of disasters in the country.
In his remarks, the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammed Sani Sidi, said for the agency to fully carry out its mandates, there was need for it to be repositioned and re-strategised for effective and efficient management of the plights and needs of displaced persons in Nigeria.