NEMA Launches Reviewed National Contingency Plan As Information Minister Applauds The Initiative
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has launched a reviewed National Contingency Plan 2023-2025 as the Honourable Minister of Information Alhaji Idris Mohammed applauded the initiative aimed at strengthening disaster preparedness and response in the country.
Director General NEMA Mustapha Habib Ahmed who launched the plan in Abuja described the occasion as a “significant milestone in our collective efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of our nation.” He added that the plan has become imperative given that ” Nigeria has experienced quite a number of human and natural disasters, public health emergencies, and other unforeseen events which can occur at any moment, causing immense devastation and disruption of the functioning of the society. It is our duty, as disaster managers and citizens, to ensure that we are adequately prepared to respond swiftly and efficiently to such situations.”
He appreciated the participation of stakeholders in the review of the plan and said “We represent a diverse range of expertise, backgrounds, and organizations, all united by a common goal: to launch and put into formal use an effective National Contingency Plan that will guide us in times of crisis.”
Furthermore, he said “the past months and years, countless hours of hard work, research, and collaboration have gone into the development of this plan. Experts from various sectors have contributed their knowledge and experience, drawing upon lessons learned from past disasters and incorporating the latest best practices in disaster management.” He especially thanked UNICEF for collaborating and supporting NEMA in the process of reviewing the plan.
He also spoke on the areas covered in the plan that “NEMA in collaboration with UNICEF and other stakeholders carried out a risk analysis of Nigeria in 2021. The exercise was carried out across the geo-political zones of the country and covered different risks and hazards at the Local Government Areas (LGAs) level, including floods; epidemics; conflict, and violence amongst others.”
“The objective of the analysis was to identify, assess, and rank risks with a view to understanding related vulnerabilities and capacities while fostering effective risk management approaches among agencies addressing the same or similar threats. The outcome of the risk analysis guided the review of the National Contingency Plan.”
The Director General of NEMA said the Agency will continue to focus on disaster preparedness actions including continuous revision of risks across the country, supporting States in the development of contingency plans, and also focusing on an Early Warning System to enable communities to understand the risks they face and linkages to ensure they are able to prevent, prepare and respond to these risks.
He therefore emphasized preparedness as very important to save lives and minimising the impact of emergencies.
The Honourable Minister of Information in a goodwill message delivered by the Director of Information in the Ministry Alhaji Suleiman Haruna commended NEMA for developing the National Contingency Plan for Nigeria, with a broad spectrum of stakeholders to address the nation’s emergency preparedness.
He said “Disasters have taken a toll on citizens year by year, resulting in loss of lives and livelihoods, and leading to negative multiplier effects.
“Today’s launch is timely as it resonates with the government’s drive to protect citizens from all risks to their well-being, including security, displacement, epidemics, and conflict.
“The plan evaluated twelve (12) different risks, including flooding, health epidemics, and conflict, with a plan to mitigate their impact. Some of these risks are natural, while others are caused by humans, even though poverty and socio-economic disparities were identified as contributors to the latter.
“In developing prevention and mitigation measures regarding human-induced risks, I call on implementing agencies to design strategic communication plans that deploy participatory, dialogic, and horizontal methods rather than the usual dissemination through radio and television.
Strategic communication plans aim for specific audiences and apply a mix of communication channels, including mainstream, folk media, interpersonal, IEC, and new media, ensuring that the message development process is inclusive, consistent, and frequent.”
In a remark, the County Representative of UNICEF Nigeria Cristian Munduate said the UN agency was delighted to work with NEMA in the review of the Contingency Plan.
Munduate who was represented by the UNICEF Chief of WASH Jane Bevan said “We mapped the likelihood of 12 specific risks in the areas of flooding, epidemics, and armed conflict and/or violence across all LG of the country. The risk analysis was launched in December 2021, and is available for all interested stakeholders to read on the NEMA website.”
“In 2022, UNICEF supported NEMA in updating the risk analysis. In addition, in the course of 5 workshops that covered State Emergency Management Agencies or SEMA representatives from 22 states, the five zonal contingency plans launched today were developed. While these plans are multi-risk plans, they especially focus on floods primarily, these also consider associated risks, such as cholera. The plans cover all the zones of Northwest, North-Central, South-South, Southeast, and Southwest.