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SYMPTOMS OF A FAILING SYSTEM: NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA AFTER TWO DECADES
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) came into existence in 1999, with the intention to expand the operational scope of the National Emergency Relief Agency (NERA). The Establishment Act of NEMA, saddled the Agency with the responsibilities of overseeing emergency/disaster management activities in Nigeria through policy formulation and the coordination of other agencies and stakeholders. Two decades after its establishment, the Agency has struggled to meet its formulation goals, as disaster management in the country is still inefficient. This article therefore assesses NEMA using flood mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery as cardinal variables. To achieve this objective, the survey research designed with mixed method approach was found suitable and was adopted. To generate primary data, three States: Kogi, Bayelsa and Oyo were purposively selective as a result of their histories/prevalence of floods. Using the multi-stage sampling technique, one local government each was selected from the states as samples. With the use of Taro Yamane method, one thousand, one hundred and ninety-eight respondents were selected for the administration of questionnaires, while in-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions were conducted with survivors of flood emergencies/disasters in selected communities. Also, KIIs were conducted with relevant NEMA officials and those of State Emergency Management Agency in the selected States. The research found-out that the legislative instrument that established NEMA was weak. Besides, the Agency operated in a complex policy environment which negatively impinged its operations. Apart from ecological variables, the Agency was plagued by poor funding, low institutional capacity and bureaucratic corruption. Considering the overall consequences of disasters on the Nigerian State, it was recommended that NEMA should be repositioned to play more active roles.
Keywords: Public policy; Disaster management; Flood mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.