By Aisha Cole
Lagos, Sept. 9, 2020 The House of Representatives Committee on Disaster and Emergency has pledged support to States’ Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), to improve their disaster responses in the country.
The committee made the pledge when its members visited the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), office in Lagos on Wednesday.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Olatunji Olawuyi, commended the structure, equipment and coordination of LASEMA, adding that their template was worthy of emulation by other states.
He said that there was need to replicate LASEMA operations in other states for effective manage of disasters and ensuring safety of lives and property.
Olawuyi acknowledged that some states in the country does not have the capacity to manage any emergency situation.
He said that the committee would look into ways of making SEMAs vibrant in terms of support and legislation from House of Representatives.
Olawuyi said on behalf of Speaker the house would ensured that Nigeria was a valuable place in terms of emergency and disaster and a replica of United States.
The Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Muhammadu Muhammed, appreciated the efforts of the Lagos State Government in preparedness, mitigation and response to emergency in the state.
Muhammed, who was presented by the Director Planning, Research and Forecasts, NEMA, Mr Kayode Fagbemi, said that they had received warning alert on flood, while NEMA had communicated same to the state Governors through letters.
He said that the Humanitarian Affairs Minister had also addressed the National Economic Council (NEC) on the need to take proactive measures.
“Flood constitutes one of the disasters facing us in this country and has become perennial.
” Lagos State should also mobilise its citizens to contribute their quota in mitigating flood.
“There are certain things citizens can do like clearing their drains, stop dumping waste on water channels and stop building on flood plains.
” LASEMA is the best emergency management agency in Nigeria, we have some SEMAs with two or three staff members, no vehicle and no capacity.
” If all the SEMAs were like LASEMA, NEMA will be able to support and reduce the risk of disasters across the country.
“We appreciate the collaboration, cooperation and coordination we have with LASEMA.
“Many people think SEMAs belong to NEMA. No! SEMA is a state owned agency. The state governments are to fund SEMA the way the Federal Government is funding NEMA,” he said.
NEMA boss said that state should fund their SEMAs to have capacity to respond to emergency situations, adding that when the capability overwhelms them then NEMA could come in and intervene.
Muhammed said that the local Government should be able to have Local Government Emergency Management Committee, so that everybody would keep aside contingency funds for emergency.
In his response, the Director General of LASEMA, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, appreciated the committee and urged support for capacity building to enable LASEMA emergency responders to understand the terrain in other states and support during emergency.
Oke-Osanyintolu said that LASEMA needs capacity building such as equipment, enabling laws, technology and so on, adding that inter-state responders would improve their knowledge in attending to emergency situation.
He urged the house committee to ensure proper establishment of SEMA in all 36 states for effective and efficiency management of emergency.
“I am so happy when the House Committee appreciated the equipment and capacities that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has put in place for emergency management in the state.
” Gov. Sanwo-Olu has promised people of Lagos safety of lives and properties that was why he equipped, positioned, trained responders to ensure they safe lives of people in Lagos.
” It is important to ensure that what Gov. Sanwo-Olu has done in Lagos State should be replicated in other states.
By Aisha Cole