Nigeria has had a number of emergency situations arising from disasters – natural and man-made. The natural phenomena include tropical storms, land erosion, windstorms, floods, drought, desertification, human diseases, coastal erosion, livestock diseases, crop pests and diseases, wild fire, harmattan haze and landslides. Other potential hazards include earthquakes and volcanoes. The major man-made hazards include civil strife, road, water and air traffic accidents; and technological episodes such as oil spills, hazardous wastes dumping and industrial accidents, including emergency situations caused by activities of terrorists and militia groups such as bomb blasts.
Sequel to these emergency situations there is need for the nation to have strengthened and sustainable policies which will result to effective emergency management.
At the opening ceremony of a 2-day stakeholders validation workshop in Nasarawa State, organised by NEMA with support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the director- general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr Mustapha Yinusa stressed that need, saying the workshop was organised with the purpose of seeking the inputs and observation of relevant stakeholders in order to validate three documents that had been completed and submitted by consultants.
The documents being validated by stakeholders include national plan of action on the implementation on Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction (DRR); structure and framework for the national platform on DRR and a national policy on DRR.
Yinusa explained that the documents being reviewed by stakeholders was an attempt by Nigeria to streamline itself with the latest disaster risk reduction (DRR) framework action plan adopted by participating countries in Japan in 2015.
He said: “You will recall the third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held on March 14 to 18, 2015, in Sendai, Japan. It was at the conference that the participating countries of the world adopted the Sendai framework for action which replaced the Hygo framework for action. The adoption of the document brought with it challenges that call for all stakeholders in disaster risk reduction in the country to critically examine the document with a view to identifying appropriate implementation strategies. One of such strategies demanded a re-invigoration of the national platform on disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the country.”
He noted that Nigeria, as a country, instituted the National Platform on DRR in 2010 as an off- shoot of global platform for disaster risk reduction which was first held in May 2017 in Mexico. At a similar meeting of African countries, the sixth session of African Regional Platform on DRR was hosted by the government of Mauritius on November 22 to 25, 2016.
“At the national level, following good practices recommended at the last African regional platform, NEMA with support of the UNDP organised the National Platform on DRR from February 21 to 22, 2017. Among the resolutions of the meeting was the need to set up a technical committee to produce a working structure for the national platform. Another resolution was a need to develop national programme of action for the implementation of the Sendai Framework 2015 to 2030.
“Also following the requirement of SFA 2015- 2030, priority 2, on the need for a national policy on DRR to guide the implementation of action plans, the country hired the services of a consultant with support of the UNDP to develop a national policy on DRR for the country. The consultant having produced draft policy on DRR is now seeking for the input of relevant stakeholders by way of its validation at this meeting,” he added.
He charged the participants to give their best in the onerous task of producing a validated document that would strengthen the nation’s disaster risk management situations.
“I have no doubt in my mind that though the task ahead is very challenging objectives for organising the workshop will be met. The country will have in place validated policy document, implementable action plan and workable structure for the national platform that meet requirements for the implementation of the Sendai framework on disaster risk management,” he stated.
Speaking to journalists, a consultant in disaster management, Mr Soji Adeniyi, said the stakeholders aimed to review of the Sendia framework for a strong and robust disaster risk reduction framework.
“Over the years I haven’t seen much more enthusiasm like we have in the past two three years, maybe it’s because of the crisis we’re having in the northeast. It is bringing more attention to the risk to disasters and the impact of disasters and what we’re doing here is the review of the Sendia framework for disaster risk reduction which require that every country must set up a structure to focus on disaster risk reduction and disaster management rather than emergency response because usually emergency response should come only when you have a very strong and robust disaster risk reduction.
“Because when you’ve thought about what could happen, the risk and the vulnerabilities, it is easier to focus on how best to prepare for it, how to reduce the risk, mitigate the risk and ensure that you’re responding with the date that helps you to focus on what is most important which is saving lives when you’re on rescue,” Adeniyi said.
According to him, the major area stakeholders are looking at is to have an outcome that should give the nation its first national risk reduction policy.
“We should also have the validated national disaster risk reduction action plan which would give information on the structure of the platform, what would happen at the federal, state and community levels. At the end of this we still expect to have a document that allows every stakeholder to see what their own role is supposed to be and be able to act independent of a central system,” he added.