By Our Reporter
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness, Rt. Hon. Joseph Bassey, has charged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to be more responsive in handling issues of natural disasters in the country with a view to ensure that Nigerians are not left vulnerable in the face of natural disasters such as pandemics, flooding, unforeseen fire outbreaks, windstorm among others.
Rt. Hon. Bassey, who represents Akpabuyo/Bakassi/Calabar South Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, gave the charge during the inaugural speech of the Committee on the budget defence by NEMA.
NEMA’s budget defence was heard by a joint committee of the Senate and Reps, led by Senator Kaka Shehu Lawan, who is the Chairman Senate Committee on Special Duties and Rt. Hon. Joseph Bassey who heads the Committee on Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness in the House of Representatives.
“I stand before you today as the Chairman of the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, and it is an honour to address you on this momentous occasion. Our committee has been entrusted with a crucial responsibility – to safeguard the lives, property, and well-being of our fellow citizens in times of crisis.
“As we gather here, we must acknowledge the ever-present threats of natural disasters, pandemics, and unforeseen emergencies. Our duty is to ensure that our constituents are not left vulnerable in the face of these challenges,” he said.
He outlined the mandates of the committee as follows:
• Development of policies on emergency and disaster preparedness.
• Development of pre-emptive policies and programs for search and rescue operations in the maritime and air transport industries.
• Designing of oil spillage control in the oil industry.
• Development of appropriate measures, including legislative action relating to the prevention of terrorism and related matters.
• Development of a sustainable national contingency plan in the private and public sectors.
• Oversight of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
• Oversight of the ministry responsible for emergency and disaster preparedness.
•Annual budget estimates.
We must foster cooperation between government agencies, first responders, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector to build a robust and effective response system.
“In the coming days, weeks, and months, we will explore innovative solutions, share best practices, and engage in rigorous deliberations to fortify our nation’s emergency and disaster response capabilities.
“I encourage each member of this committee to bring their expertise and commitment to the table, your insights and experiences are invaluable in guiding our work. We are here to serve the interests of the people, and we will do so with utmost dedication and transparency for it is only through our collective effort that we can achieve our objectives.
“In conclusion, I am humbled to lead this committee, and I have every confidence in our ability to make a positive impact. Let us embark on this journey with a shared commitment to safeguarding our communities and ensuring that, when disaster strikes, we are well-prepared to respond swiftly and effectively,” he added.
In his remarks, Sen. Lawan described NEMA as an important agency that should not be taken for granted, as he commended the DG of NEMA for leading a diligent management of the agency.