By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – For better response to emergencies in the country, the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) has assured stakeholders that it would henceforth participate in joint trainings to improve the capacity of stakeholders.
The Director General of NEMA, Engineer Mustapha Maihaja gave the assurance on Tuesday in Kaduna when he visited 401 Flying Training School, Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Base.
According to him, the visit to all disaster units in the country commenced with the 401 Flying Training School; saying NEMA is saddled with responsibility of disaster management in all ramifications.
He assured the Commander of 401 Training School on one of the gaps he identified, which is the need for a joint training; saying there would be a special session where this gap and others would be discussed.
He explained that the Federal Government response only comes when disaster is catastrophic, while others can be handled by SEMA or local authorities, but sadly, today NEMA is also managing minor disasters.
“Disaster has a circular activity from prevention, mitigation to response. NEMA coordinates all activities of stakeholders in disaster management circle.
“The agency is also charged with responsibility of coordinating disaster management of humanitarian crisis,” he said.
Engineer Maihaja disclosed that NEMA and its activities are directly under the Presidency.
“The president declares a catastrophic disaster and all units, including the Army, Navy and Air force disaster units are activated and coordinated by NEMA”
Speaking further, the NEMA boss said that the agency has developed so many policies, including the National Disaster Response Plan, that guides disaster management in Nigeria.
“Its main component is establishing a disaster response unit which forms an integral part. Disaster categorised into three, minor, major and catastrophic.”
Earlier, Commander, 401 Flying Training School, Group Captain Ahmed Dari, said that the school was established in 1964 for flying training for NAF Pilots, and also served as a disaster response unit.
According to him, the Training School which was upgraded in 1970, and again upgraded in 1984, operates Air Beetle and other aircrafts. He said the school is designated a direct emergency response unit
The Commander informed the NEMA boss that the units seeks assistance from the Agency in terms of training, search and rescue operations, as well as scuba diving training.
“In executing the unit’s responsibilities, we have tried to operate within our safety limits and we got assistance from NEMA in 2016. NEMA conducted 60 per cent of operations in that accident,” he added, while referring to a crash incident.
“Our achievements include 12 casualty and 13 medical evacuation missions within the last 6 months,” he said.