Disaster management in Nigeria an Appraisal of NEMA
The upsurge of disastrous events; both natural and man induced in
the 1990s and 2000s in Nigeria has indeed been worrisome. Despite the establishment of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
in 1999, the management of emergencies and disasters has left much to be desired. Although Nigeria has developed some measures of capacity in disaster response, the country still remains vulnerable to disasters due to a combination of factors, which include technological, environmental, political and climatic change combined with increasing population density. The situation calls for a critical assessment for a more effective, holistic and proactive approach to disaster management in Nigeria. It is against this background that this work set out to appraise the performance of NEMA in managing disasters and emergencies in Nigeria.
The study, which is a historical research, relies on both primary and secondary sources of data using mainly unstructured interviews, consultations and case studies as its methods of data collection. Thus, the relevant civil organisations and other major players and stakeholders in the management of disasters were the main sources of primary data. The secondary sources of data were from reputable publications, journals, magazines, reports and the Internet. The data collected were analysed qualitatively leading to some findings and recommendations.
The work found out that although NEMA, which is the central coordinating body, has a workable blue print and policies for managing disaster, the body is however faced with a lot of constraints. The major challenge have been that many of the states of the federation do not have the necessary structures such as the Local Government Emergency Agency (LGEA) to enable them prepare adequately for disasters in order to mitigate the effect. These are being compounded by inadequate early warning systems and poor integrated planning amongst others. Above all, the Disaster Response Units (DRU) and Operational Directorates (ODs) are constrained by the lack of expertise to effectively carry out their functions in conformity with the National Disaster Response Plan (NDRP).
Based on the research findings, the study highlighted the prospects of effective disaster management, which led to some recommendations. The recommendations included improved information management, need for the early warning systems, integrated planning and coordination among others. This is in order to take disaster management beyond distribution of relief to a more innovative and scientific approach in Nigeria