In its commitment towards mitigating disaster risk in Nigeria, the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA is seeking for support and stronger collaboration with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on the use of ICT Infrastructure and Digital platform with a view to ensuring timely and lifesaving search and rescue operations.
This was discussed yesterday, when the Director General and Chief Executive Officer, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, received Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmad, in his office.
Mallam Abdullahi congratulated the DG NEMA for his recent appointment, describing his task as onerous that requires sustained and strengthened partnerships for him to succeed in his duties due to its magnitude and impact on distress Nigerians.
The DG mentioned that NITDA as government apex IT regulatory body is saddled with the mandate of developing and regulating the use of ICT in Nigeria, is equally within its purview to deploy its expertise on virtually all aspects of human and operational endeavors that requires the application of digital technology which NEMA is not an exception.
He described NEMA’s operations as one that requires the application of modern technology, adding that “to work effectively and efficiently you need ICT, technology can help you get insight and predict a disaster even before it happens”.
He said modern technology will in no small measure positions agencies like NEMA to always be on their toes ahead of any emerging situation easily, quickly, and conveniently as well as providing useful information that will make the agency take proactive measures.
The DG assured them of NITDA’s unalloyed commitment to incorporating NEMA into its Digital Transformation Working Group (DTWG) to facilitate organizing capacity building for their personnel, to have a full grasp of the process, when where and how to deploy and apply the technology appropriately.
He is also confident that NITDA’s readiness to key into providing technology guide on effective communication methods with their Zonal and State Offices for quick, easy, and convenient information dissemination of locations for disaster.
He said, NEMA’s Act empowers it to manage human and natural disasters as well as support Nigerians in distress and mitigate the impact of such calamities, thereby building the culture of resilience on Nigerians, adding that the country is faced with wide ranging disasters such as insurgent activities ravaging the North East, communal conflicts, kidnappings and banditry, annual floods and most recently the COVID19 global pandemic.
According to the NEMA DG, “resources at the agency’s disposal no doubt has been over stretched and can barely meet the various disaster challenges across the nation”.
He stated that they resolved to seek collaborative ties with stakeholders which NITDA is critical to the realisation of mitigating disaster risk management in Nigeria being the country’s apex IT regulator.
One of the areas that requires NITDA’s intervention is to assist in making up NEMA’s Zonal Territorial and Operational offices more effective – to have real time and sudden onset disaster communication, video conferencing, collection of damage and loss assessment data to enable timely lifesaving search and rescue operations as well as deployment of humanitarian support in the right time.
On the economic downtown occasioned due to the dreaded COVID 19 pandemic, the NEMA Boss said it has become imperative for their agency to further explore and sustain cost saving methods in their operations.