Stakeholders in disaster management have called for more cooperation and synergy on disaster issues to ensure robust and resounding success in tackling disaster challenges.
They made the call during the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South-East Stakeholders Meeting held in Abakaliki on Thursday.
They were of the view that interaction between stakeholders for some years now had helped to improve disaster management and awareness creation on disaster issues and their control in states and communities.
The NEMA South-East Coordinator, Mr Fred Anusim, said that all over the world, sound disaster management hinges on effective collaboration and coordination between national, state and local government on one hand and between major stakeholders.
“All stakeholders in disaster management need to be brought together in a properly coordinated manner to facilitate shared understanding of common values and increased consciousness which will eventually lead to reduced vulnerabilities and increased resilience.
“The vehicle for collaboration and coordination are consultation and dialogue. It is in line with the foregoing that this meeting is meant to serve as a platform to deepen our conversation on the expected roles of each stakeholder in disaster management especially at a time like this.
“No doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on so many aspects of our operation hence this stakeholders meeting cannot be better timed than now,’’ he said.
Mr Ozioma Eze, Executive Secretary of Ebonyi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said that there was a need for higher collaboration between the SEMAs in South-East and NEMA to ensure that the Local Emergency Management Committee (LEM-C) in each council area would be functional.
“The Ebonyi State government is grateful for the partnership and assistance provided by NEMA all these years and through this robust collaboration Ebonyi SEMA have been able to achieve its mandate.
“Ebonyi SEMA is also grateful for the joint collaboration on sensitisation on disaster issues especially as it concerns recurring disasters such as flooding, communal crisis etc within the state,’’ Eze said.
Mr Uma Orji, Assistant Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, assured that the police would continue to give adequate cooperation to all disaster management agencies, committees and stakeholders.
Orji said that the police would provide conducive security environment for all disaster management stakeholders to operate unhindered and smoothly within the yuletide and beyond.
“As a lead internal security agency, we have beefed up security in the state especially as we approach the yuletide and started increased intelligence and surveillance in most communities in the state,’’ he said.
Mr Emeka Eze, Assistant Core Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said that the FRSC would continue to support disaster management agencies and stakeholders in the state.
“FRSC will continue to be the first responder to any disaster especially those that happen on the road and we are working 24 hours to ensure Nigerians are safe on the roads this Yuletide,’’ Eze, who is with operation department, said.
Mr Gabriel Igwe-Ebi, Head of Department, Ebonyi State Ministry of Environment, lauded NEMA and SEMA for their various interventions that had helped to reduce the sufferings of disaster victims in the South-East.
“However, I want NEMA and SEMA of states within the South-East to focus on issues of climate change which is already affecting our people both in terms of livelihood and life-style,’’ Igwe-Ebi said.
Mr Raphael Okorie of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Ebonyi State, appreciated the collaboration that existed between NEMA and SEMA and how it had helped to bring succour to Nigerians.
“Red Cross Society will always respond to all disaster incidents and provide the needed first aid on the spot,’’ Okorie said.