Over
the last decade, human population has suffered from increasingly frequent
environmental emergencies. From natural, human Induced disasters, such as
floods ocean scourge gully-erosion drought, and forest fire are happening all
over Nigeria with increasing frequency and severity. Man-made accident such as
chemical releases and oil spill, have not being prevented, despite serious
efforts, disaster have wreck huge loses in terms of economy, human life and
environment resources. The out look indicates that environmental emergencies will
continue to occur in the foreseeable future. A closer analysis of what
transforms a natural event into a human and economic disaster include rapid urbanization,
widespread urban and rural poverty the degradation of the environment resulting
from mismanagement of natural resources weak socio economic infrastructural and
inefficient public policies. According to report on global environmental
exchange report indicate that the frequent environmental emergencies in Nigeria
are largely deformed by two variables: the ability of the built physical
environment of buildings, site improvement and infrastructure in them to
withstand the stress imposed by natural hazards; and other potentials hazards of
their location, the extent to which they are subjected to environmental
emergencies. Its indicate  also, that the
roots of the urban vulnerability in Nigeria are human and their action for
example, the urban population in the country has being growing at the rate of  2-5 per-cent every year since 1990. The growth
is adding approximately several thousand of people each year to cities and
towns of the estimated total population of over 140 million, about 45 percent residence
in urban centre with highest concentration in the large metropolitan areas such
as Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, and Port-Harcourt. The environmental problem associated
with mechanized expansion and poor management has increased the vulnerability
of these cities to major disasters. In another available report by NEMA on
project impact in 2002, on Nigeria, it reveals also, that the existences of
spatial differences in nature are also what contribute to disaster. While oil
and gas pollution is largely a Niger Delta problem, drought and quella birds’
inflation occurs in the Sudan- sahelian states. However, soil erosion
rain-storm and flood disaster are prevalent in virtually all the states .Report
on vulnerability and disaster reduction strategy do explain four main
categories of disaster have occurred in Nigeria over the past fifteen years and
they have had significant social and environmental consequence. This include
pipeline explosion in different part of the country, killing many people, bomb
explosion in the military barrack, factory fire incident, plan crashes and
consequently incessant issue of building collapse. The urban violence, some
community related conflicts on land resource and ownership. Ethnic-religious class’s
frequencies flame up in different part of the country. For instance, on June
1999, Local Youth set up fire at four separate power stations in Warri – Kaduna
pipe line near the village of Adeje. This is a clear indication of rural urban
poverty which leads the people to take direct risk to get money. 18 October
1998, fire engulfed more than 2000 villagers that were scrambling for petrol were
also ruptured in Jesse outside Warri nearly 1000 people were killed. Report indicate
that in response to this precarious problems, the federal government through
decree No 12 of 1999 established national emergency management agency (NEMA)
and adopted the US.NEMA law for its legal arsenal, but its operation has being
very handicapped, report reveal that inadequate funding and equipment, week
execution capacity and lack of decentralization remain it lackluster. At
present, the ecological fund that is meant for the management of emergency
situation is usually not readily accessible at the point of immediate need. The
enabling legislation contains in concepts like co-ordination, liaise, monitor
and collection, which pre supposes that NEMA is a coordinating agency remains
in mirage. Regrettably, one of its past director general in a welcome address
to a conference on emergency management, noted that the management of any
emergency no matter how small, is the agency’s responsibility, but indeed, the
situation of a settlement of vulnerable people that are living along Ikorodu,
few kilometer away from mile 12 has being a permanent pathetic situation at the
drop of a rainfall. The flooding visually envelop the entire settlement not
even that alone, its extend to the major road accessing the major urban centers
of Ikorodu yet the agencies have no matter how small fail in its
responsibility. In May 2015 , the world conference on natural disaster
reduction was conveyed in Yokohama, Japan and a strategy and plan of action for
a safer world were adopted the strategy focuses on countries to make natural
reduction part of their development plans other wise progress in social and
economic development would continue to be eroded by reoccurring disaster

It
underscored the responsibility of governments in Nigeria to protect their people
from national disaster, equally important is when international community and
the united nation partners were called upon to support the then international decade
for natural disaster reduction and its mechanism. At the special session of the
fiftieth meeting of the governing council of UNEP, its adopted decision of 22
May 1998, it identifies environmental information, assessment and research,
including environment emergency response capacity and the strengthening of
early warning and assessment functions. Subsequently, it’s also requested that
the international community should focus and strengthen the contribution of
UNEPs environmental expertise to the co-ordination of United nation system-wide
response to natural disaster caused by national phenomena or natural phenomena
coupled with effects on human action, with a view to providing coordinated
assistance to countries, particularly developing countries, affected by such
natural disaster. Accordingly, report on African workshop on environmental
disaster in Nairobi from 28 – 30 July, 2003  indicate that there is a need to establish
national disaster relief task force, the establishment of disaster management
authority at various levels of government and development of a disaster
management plan in addition to relief plan. It opined for legislative act for
national and community level, measures and effective system for the prevention,
preparedness and opt response to disaster events. To this end, the perspective
of reducing vulnerability, in other words, requires a combined reconstruction and
transformation at various government level aimed at positively and progressively
modifying the degree of vulnerability and, therefore the prospect for future
development.               

One thought on “Disaster management in Nigeria; A Bridge Too Shallow By Olusegun Ariyo”
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