Stakeholders seek better disaster management



Stakeholders in the management of humanitarian crisis in the Boko Haram troubled North-East have urged the key players in the region to be better co-ordinated for effective services to the displaced Nigerians.

Rising from a two-day engagement forum in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the stakeholders said that there was an urgent need to strengthen the existing disaster management structure in the country.

The North-East Humanitarian Multi-Stakeholder Engagement (NEHMSE 2015) with the theme: Co-ordination, Communication and Cooperation, was held at the behest of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President and Borno State Government, with the aim of ensuring that activities of local and international humanitarian actors are well co-ordinated, monitored and evaluated to avoid duplication of efforts and waste of resources.

In a communiqué jointly signed by representatives of the Office of the Vice President, International and Local NGOs, government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as security agencies, the forum agreed that co-ordination of humanitarian efforts by the lead government agencies need to be developed to fit into the overall co-ordination mechanism of the country.

The stakeholders opined that State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMA) and LEMCs were not as effective and visible in some states during emergencies and need to be strengthened to work better.

They also harped on the need for better management of communication in emergency situations, just as they recommended the need for regulations as well as standards for monitoring, evaluating and transparency.

The communique reads: “National Planning Commission (NPC) is the point of entry for international NGOs and the United Nations system while NEMA and SEMA are entry points for local humanitarian actors.
“There are frameworks for co-operation of relevant stakeholders which need to be strengthened. The needs of the country have to be harmonised with individual organisations’ operational plan while the regulation of National and International Non-Governmental Organisations is carried out by National Planning Commission and NEMA.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had while declaring open the engagement forum commended the stakeholders for their efforts at proffering solutions to the humanitarian crisis being faced by displaced persons in the north-eastern region of the country.

Osinbajo said the region has suffered tremendously in the past six years as a result of destruction of their infrastructure, farmlands, businesses and trades, adding that “rebuilding, restoring and rehabilitation will cost money and time.”
“But neither money nor time can fix the trauma of loss of family members, relations and friends. The tasks before us are many and profound, to fix brick and mortar and to mend hearts and minds damaged by senseless murderous violence. But we are called not just to mend the hearts and minds of the victims but also of their traducers and killers.
“Your being here underscores not just your empathy for victims of terror but it also demonstrates the outrage and anger that we all feel about the mindless killings, abductions and wanton destruction perpetrated by the sect”, he said.

The VP said he was impressed with the large turn-out of participants at the two-day event, which he observed as expression of their collective determination “to find the most cost effective and creative ways to intervene in restoring the dignity, family lives and livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of IDPs in the North-East.
“And significantly, our being here and ready to engage shows our belief in the common humanity of all men, women and children. We may not know them by name or face, we may speak a different language or dialect, or belong to a different faith, but we are in the eyes of our creator one and the same. We too, but for time and chance could have been in exactly the same position, ” Osinbajo further said.

Meanwhile, the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, said the new vista of hope and expectation on the successes recorded in the fight against these insurgents is a testimony that the process of peace and stability has commenced in earnest, especially the rebuilding process which had seen thousands of IDPs returning to their homes and communities.

The Director-General of NEMA, Mohammed Sani Sidi in his words to the participants said it is pertinent for all stakeholders to engage in robust relationship in order to achieve the intended goal of bringing succour to the people of North-East as well as assist in the eventual rebuilding and reconstruction plans and programmes in the North-East.

United Nations Country Representative, Rathi Ndlovu, commended the Federal Government for the huge plan of rebuilding the Northeast, promising that the Global body will continue to partner with Nigeria towards achieving the expected normalcy in the area.

The two-day engagement forum had in attendance Governor Jubrilla Bindo of Adamawa and his counterpart from Yobe State- Ibrahim Gaidam, Deputy-Governors of Bauchi, Taraba,Gombe, Federal and State Lawmakers as well as Traditional Rulers, Service Chiefs , Borno Elders, International Development partners as well as their Local counterparts.

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