The Society of Professional Disaster Risk Managers of Nigeria (SOPDRIMN) has urged Nigerians to be responsive and proactive on environmental issues in order to reduce annual losses from environment disasters.
The National President of SOPDRIMN, Mr Jerry Nwiyor, made the call on Thursday in Enugu during the South-East Regional Conference of the society.
The conference was also used to inaugurate the new 9-man Enugu State executive of the society and the induction of 16 new members of the society in the state.
Nwiyor said that the society was collaborating with emergency responding agencies and law enforcement organizations in its on-going nationwide sensitisation against harmful environmental practices.
He said that the society had sponsored a bill in the National Assembly stating the standard and best environmental practices which all Nigerians must abide with.
According to the SOPDRIMN National President, the bill, when passed as we are anticipating, will further reduce the impact of disasters, especially the man-made ones on the socio-economic life of the entire nation.
“The bill, which has passed first reading at the house, spelt out responsibility and sanctions if one does not abide by best environmental practices.
`Its operation-ability and enforcement will help to raise the consciousness of Nigerians on issues of environment especially in their immediate neighbourhoods,” he said.
Nwiyor said that Nigerians must stop the intentional harm on the environment such as dumping of refuse in drains, blocking or building on waterways and indiscriminate bush burning.
Speaking, the Zonal Coordinator of the society, Ogoamaka Ndukwe, said that the society had been in the forefront of the campaign against tree cutting in the South-East to reduce erosion menace.
Ndukwe also said that the society tends to start massive tree planting in the zone very soon.
In an address, Enugu State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Chijioke Edoga, assured the society of the state government support and synergy to ensure that all its disaster reduction programmes were achieved.
“SOPDRIMN has come to put professionalism and commitment in the path of disaster management and the state government is fully backing all your programmes meant for the benefit of our people,” Edoga said.
In a message, Mr James Eze, the South-East Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said that “disaster response is a collective social responsibility”.
“NEMA will continue to support all the society’s programmes and to work in collaboration with it for disaster reduction especially on sensitisation in the hinterlands of the country,” Eze said.
Mr Joseph Udoabba, the Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps in Enugu State, said that the corps would continue to support and partner with the society in various programmes meant to reduce disasters on the roads.
Mr Valentine Afrika, Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Enugu State Command, assured the society of a close working relationship to ensure the safety of all Nigerians.
Later, Mr Ike Chukwunonyelum, the new Enugu State Chairman of SOPDRIMN, said that he would be working with the state ministry of environment, NEMA, FRSC, NSCDC and others to achieve aggressive sensitisation against harmful environmental practices.
“We will engage in massive mass media and social media education on what constitutes bad environmental habits as well as get more volunteers, who are trained, to respond to any disaster situation in the state”, Chukwunonyelum added.