Vanguard (Lagos)

27 November 2012

Nigeria: NEMA Takes Early Steps Against Fire Incidents in Dry Season

Against the backdrop of the recent flood that ravaged many parts of Nigeria, leaving death and destruction in its wake, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, says it has taken pre-emptive measures against any likelihood of future re-occurrence of disasters, including bush and market fire during the harmattan and dry season.

To this effect, the agency, according to its top officials, has inaugurated a technical committee to map out the most vulnerable areas in the country. It also warned road users against reckless driving during the Ember months.

Director General NEMA Muhammad Sani-Sidi who disclosed this at the weekend in Abuja solicited the cooperation of the stakeholders and supports of international agencies to protect the communities and build the culture of disaster resilience among the people. He spoke while separately receiving in his office a team from the United Kingdom Cabinet Office Briefing Room led by Mr Nick Gibbons and the newly appointed Commander of the Nigerian Air Force Abuja Camp, Group Captain Joseph Malgwi.

He said: "We have mobilised our stakeholders and volunteers to be prepared in the likelihood of massive fire incidents in markets, farmlands and forests in the harmattan and dry season due to indiscriminate storage of inflammable materials and bush burning.

"We are closely monitoring the traffic in collaboration with our stakeholders during mass-rush of commuters in Ember months so as to minimise risks of road accidents that could involve fuel tankers. While mobile ambulances are strategically stationed in prone areas, sensization campaigns are essential to reduce the vulnerabilities."

He said the experiences from the unprecedented flood was a challenge that required synergy among the stakeholders, including the states and local governments as Nigeria has capabilities to address different kinds of disasters given the necessary cooperation and supports. However, Sani-Sidi said the Agency has already developed a National Contingency Plan to guide timely response to any sudden onset emergency in the country.

In their separate remarks, Mr Gibbons said his team were at the Agency to explore areas of cooperation to assist the country, while Group Captain Malgwi said the visit was to strengthen existing working relationship between NEMA and the NAF unit.

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