The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called for a special funding from the Federal Government for effective disaster management in the country.
Ahmed Habib, Director-General, NEMA, said this when he appeared before Senate Committee on Special Duties for 2023 budget defence on Monday in Abuja.
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“The agency needs special intervention fund, we lack equipment, we lack manpower, we actually need a lot, the agency will be needing special intervention to be able to handle the magnitude of disaster that we have,” he said.
He said the agency with the support from stakeholders has s doing a lot to support affected states and Nigerians who were victims of natural disasters.
“For example in Bayelsa, we have used the Navy to go and rescue, we have used the Air Force to help us take relief items to Bayelsa.
“The President has directed that 12,000 metric tonnes of grains be given to us and it will be distributed across the 36 states and FCT.
“The Presidential Committee on flood has started distribution of items worth N1.5billion to the six zones of the country and the 36 states,” he said.
Habib said that NEMA was over stretched, given the magnitude of natural disasters in the country and its limited manpower.
According to him, the ecological fund that NEMA was receiving, states and local governments can’t handle the magnitude of disaster.
“Banditry, insurgency, flooding in all the 36 states and local governments,so I do not know how many local government areas that we are expected to handle,” he said.
He also decried the non presence of states and local government emergency agencies to compliment the efforts of NEMA.
“It is hard to know that only four states have Local Emergency Management Committees( LEMC).
“Some states don’t even have State Emergency Management Agency(SEMA), so how do we managed disaster from bottom to up.
“Most states have not put anything on ground to handle disaster in the country, NEMA is overstretch,” he said.
Sen. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, (APC- Bayelsa) a member of the committee, urged Nigerians to hold those who are responsible for governance in the states accountable for their actions.
“The public is aware that the state government and local government councils should also be responsible not only NEMA.
“The people that are being governed at the level of state governments and local councils should hold them accountable.
“Beyond advocacy and sensitisation, there is need for collaboration with the state governments,” he said.
He urge the NEMA boss to recruit more personnel to cover up the operations of NEMA.
“Except it is presented to us that you need to recruit more personnel to cover up your operations and if it is before us, this committee can deal with it.
“I suggest that you take that very seriously, If you propose it and it is inside your estimate, we can consider giving approval to it.
“You have to synergise and make your request to the relevant quarters for you to recruit more personnel to carry out your operations.
“If your people were deployed to cover up the entire country, some of the deaths we recorded would have been prevented, because your men were not on ground.
“Make your request through the Head of Service to the presidency for approval to enable you recruit more man power and for training to improve on their capacity to carry out emergency operations.
“Concerning the risk and hazard faced there is need for the conditions of service of the agency to be reviewed, you need a special salary scale as an emergency agency,” he said.