Understanding the Nigerian Emergency Management System: A Key to Improving Preparedness.
By Justine U Uyimleshi, on 16 June 2017
Nigeria has over the years, been challenged with human induced disasters unlike other parts of the world that have faced the challenge of natural hazards. Reports revealed that between July 2013 and March 2016, Lagos state alone recorded four major cases of building collapses with around 122 dead and several injured. Between September 2013 and March 2014, Nigeria recorded three major stampedes with 96 dead and several injured (Okoli and Nnorom 2014). Moreover, the frequency of power failures in Nigeria has escalated to the level that even the presidential villa has mandated the 24-hour use of generators to provide continued energy in the state house, Aso Villa.
The increasing frequency of human induced disasters in Nigeria is becoming so alarming that urgent need for preparedness to improve response when disaster strikes is required. This requires adequate knowledge about the system to determine its capability and areas that need urgent attention.
In line with the UCL Grand Challenges initiative, I embarked on a research fieldtrip to Nigeria in May 2017 to conduct a survey as a part of my PhD at the IRDR. The aim was to meet and discuss with a number of relevant emergency response organisations, and obtain some crucial information about emergency management activities to develop a framework to improve emergency response in Nigeria.
The survey was conducted at a number of institutions, including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the national hospital (NH). All of these constitute key emergency response organisations in Nigeria, and the survey gathered valuable information regarding emergency communication, resource availability, staffing and training.
Initial evidencesuggests that inadequate funding, inadequate resources, insufficient training, lack of incentives, poverty, marginalisation and lack of political will are the major factors that affect emergency response activities in Nigeria.