After a review of the recent impacts of disasters in Nigeria, stakeholders in emergency management have adopted a position for the National Assembly to amend the Act that established the National Emergency Management Agency to strengthen its roles in response to such situations.
To this end, the stakeholders, through its Technical Working Group, have identified areas in the NEMA Act that require the amendment in a draft Bill to be presented to the National Assembly.
Members of the group were drawn from legal profession, the legislature, academia, humanitarian institutions, professional groups, judiciary and civil society organizations among others.
The facilitator of the group, Prof. Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan of the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said the focus of the proposed amendment was to expand the mandates and powers of NEMA to include lead coordination in the management of all types of disasters and all phases of internal displacement in Nigeria.
Speaking at the weekend in Abuja during a workshop to review the draft amendment, the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Dr. Ali Ahmad, said the issue of internal displacement has become a major concern due to the increasing frequency of disasters.
“Although the plights of internally displaced persons is common knowledge to national authorities in Nigeria, unfortunately the national response is generally constrained by lack of comprehensive legal and policy frameworks, technical, human, material and financial capacity,” Ahmad noted.
Therefore, he added that NEMA should be legally enhanced to handle the issues of the IDPs.
In his remarks, the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammed Sani-Sidi, said for the agency to fully carry out its mandate, there was the need for it to be repositioned and re-strategized for effective and efficient management of the plights and needs of displaced persons in Nigeria.