By Adeola Badru, Oyo
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Wednesday, solicited the collaboration of the media industry on efficient disaster management in Oyo State.
The newly deployed zonal coordinator of the agency to the state, Mr Akiode Saheed, made this known, during a media parley, held at the Film Centre of the state’s Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Saheed stressed the need for a cordial relationship with relevant stakeholders in the media industry in taking the right measures to avert disasters and also to adopt effective management strategies in averting incidences such as fire, accident, flooding across the state.
According to him, the media parley was aimed at engaging the media men and identified their challenges towards ensuring effective management of disaster. He added that the interaction would enable stakeholders to identify the most critical disasters, responses and implementation of national disaster plans.
He said: “As a critical stakeholder, the agency recognises your roles in nation-building, especially in disaster management. We recognise your positive impact in dissemination of information, creating public awareness towards reducing the effects of disasters and emergencies.”
“We also recognise your ability in building disaster resilience at the community level through programmes enlightenment.”
“As we are aware that disasters occur unannounced and require immediate response, it is therefore expected to identify the risk factor and put measures in place to ensure that lives as well as property is secured.”
“This gathering has become e necessary in view of the importance of the media in disaster management. This gathering is therefore intended not only to strengthen the existing synergy and cordial relationship between NEMA and the media but also, to collaborate, create an atmosphere of experience sharing, cross-fertilised ideas in delivering the mandate of the agency most especially in the area of disaster risk management activities.”
“In 2011, the agency established a programme known as ‘Journalist Against Disaster.’ The programme is to allow the media to be at the forefront of disaster management by promoting disaster risk reduction, not as critics. It is my hope the programme will be established in the state where the media will have the opportunity of developing their capacities in all areas of disaster risk management.”
Saheed reiterated on the media parley as a wake-up call not only to work together assiduously towards disaster risk reduction and improving community resilience but as a turning point on the agency’s level of preparedness, response mitigation and building stronger community resilience.
He, however, commended the activities of the state government, on its efforts targeted at mitigating disasters in the state, while calling for collaboration between the federal, state and local governments to change their attitudes and support proactive measures laid down by the agency.