By Fortune Eromosele and Ezra Ukanwa – Abuja

Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, has appealed to the Governor of Yobe state, Mai mala Buni to set up Local Emergency Management Committees, LEMCs, in all the Local Government Areas of Yobe state.

This, he explained, would help mitigate future disasters, noting that “disasters are all local and the first responders that save lives are always local.”

He made this call when the Governor of Yobe state, Mai mala Buni, paid the agency a courtesy visit at its headquarters, yesterday in Abuja. 

According to him, “I also want to use this opportunity to appeal to Your Excellency to consider setting up Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) in all the Local Government Areas of Yobe state.

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“This is with the understanding that disasters are all local; the first responders that save lives are always local”, he added.

He stated that following the strong partnership of NEMA and the government of Yobe state through the Yobe State Emergency Management Agency, YOSEMA, the Agency would continue to advance its disaster risk management and humanitarian service delivery in the state.

He, however, disclosed that a team of NEMA staff were recently deployed to Yobe state to carry-out a comprehensive damage and loss assessment over the flood disaster, assuring that the Agency would, in the next couple of days, deliver relief materials to persons in need.

While stating that the Boko Haram insurgency and the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with other natural disasters have impacted the socio-economic activities of Nigerians, he noted that the Yobe state government has been in the front line, working with NEMA, to support people in need of humanitarian relief intervention.

His words: “A team of NEMA staff have been deployed to Yobe state to undertake a comprehensive damage and loss assessment of the flood disaster. I want to assure you that in the next couple of days, we are delivering relief assorted relief items to support the persons in need.

“As we may recall, over the years NEMA and the government of Yobe state through the Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) have built a very strong relationship manifested in mutual support and collaboration on disaster risk management and humanitarian service delivery.

“This partnership has become more imperative in the backdrop of the wide ranging human and nature induced emergencies that have impacted our dear country in the recent past.

“We are all aware that of the Boko Haram insurgency which broke out in 2009 and climaxed between 2013 and 2015 and impacted socioeconomic activities including farming, pastoralism, exchange of goods and services and social interaction amongst the populace in several states of the federation, Of recent, banditry and kidnapping for ransom have drastically diminished livelihood options including farming, pastoralism and exchange of goods and services in several states of Nigeria.

“On the other hand, severe weather events including floods, windstorms and ocean surge driven by climate change and variability have become annually recurring events across Nigeria.

“Our national disaster profile has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic which arrived the shores of Nigeria in November, 2019 with all the associated global economic downturn thereby making disaster management a daunting task. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the hard lesson that everyone is vulnerable, no one is safe until everyone is safe.

“Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, despite the challenging scenario, has consistently supported people affected by disasters to enable them live in dignity and gradually return to normal life.

“I am proud to say that the government of Yobe state under your stewardship has been in the frontline working with NEMA and other partners in supporting people in need of humanitarian relief intervention.

“I want to use this opportunity to assure you that NEMA will continue its partnership with Yobe state to render support to people in need. Together we will work to achieve effective emergency preparedness, response and mitigation including capacity building for members of staff of Yobe SEMA.”

He, therefore, commended the governor of Yobe state for being strategic in his humanitarian efforts to ensure that the people of Yobe state are not entirely displaced following the reports of insurgency in the state.

“Furthermore, Yobe state has avoided the pitfall of setting up of large scale IDP camps with all the attendant risk of creating a dependent population living in permanent camps as experienced in other national and global hotspots.

“Under the safe schools initiative of the past, NEMA has collaborated with the Yobe state government and other actors to transfer 800 students to safer federal government colleges across Nigeria to enable them continue their education disrupted by insurgency.

“Lest we forget, it was only Yobe state under the esteemed leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni that guaranteed not to deport Almajiri children out of the state, but rather to enroll them into formal education thereby safeguarding the dignity and future of those under privileged children.

“There is no doubt that the unprecedented human and infrastructural development in Yobe state under your stewardship has accounted for the rapid restoration of normalcy following the Boko Haram crisis”, he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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