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NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (NEMA) AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA: AN APPRAISAL
Disaster management aims to reduce, or avoid the potential losses from hazards, assure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of disaster, and achieve rapid and effective recovery. It is against this background that this study was conducted to appraise the roles of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in disaster management in Nigeria. The study made use of secondary data and content analysis as method of data collection and analysis respectively while utilizing structural-functionalism as a framework of analysis. The findings of this study showed that the NEMA has functioned effectively in enhancing proper disaster management in Nigeria through establishment of Geographic Information System, establishment of the COSPAS-SARSAT, development of multi-disciplinary epidemic early warning system mechanism, establishing Grassroots Emergency Management Volunteer Corps, developing Regional Cooperation For Disaster management, establishment of Disaster Response Units (DRUs) in armed forces, and Provision of Relief and Rehabilitation Materials etc. It was also observed that NEMA is confronted with some challenges which include paucity of logistics, lack of sustained synergy to coordinate stakeholders, inadequate manpower and absence of functional emergency response structures at the other tiers of government thereby making bottom – top approach to disaster management almost impossible in Nigeria. Therefore, it is recommended that NEMA should be more proactive rather than reactive in doling out relief assistance/materials. Furthermore, the Federal Government should support NEMA through improved funding and provision of necessary infrastructures for disaster management in line with global best practices.
Key words: Disaster, Disaster Management, Emergency, Structural – Functional Theory.