From Matthew Aramunde, Lagos
The Chairman House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde has said that disaster is a collective responsibility of government and the people, even as he noted that government has been working tirelessly with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
He made a two day retreat organized by the National Emergency Management Agency to keep members of the committee abreast on the activities of the agency and its enormous challenges and to enhance the capacity and knowledge of members in disaster management which took place at the Sheraton Hotels, in Lagos.
Apparently worried by the disturbing security challenges that the country is currently going through, he noted that the country is witnessing a new dimension of disaster occasioned by incessant attack on schools, towns and communities most especially in the northern part of Nigeria by members of Boko Haram.
He decried the situation where the cumulative effect have led to the internal display, loss of lives and properties, starvation and hunger which he noted have consequently overstressed the merger resources of the agency through the provision of relief materials to the affected people.
In the area of minimizing Disaster Risk Reduction in line with the current reality, Ifedayo posit that it is expedient that all security agencies should live up to the expectations of the teeming Nigerians in the discharge of their statutory responsibilities in checking the influx of alien into the country in order to curtail the menace posed by Boko Haram.
He called on the federal government in the face of alarming rate of disaster incidents in the country, to increase the annual budgetary allocation, most importantly the overhead cost for training and re-training of the agency’s staff in the search and rescue operation.
Earlier on in his welcome address the Director- General National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Muhammad Sani-Sidi, who was represented at the occasion by Mr. Akeem Akingbloa, said, “The rationale behind the retreat is to further explore the need to create continuous platform for the Honourable members and the management of NEMA to exchange information, ideas and strategies in realizing our collective mandate”.