The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has declared that the inclusion of risk reduction mechanisms in school curricular has helped in mitigating and preventing disasters in the country.
The federal government agency said the country has gained tremendously from the initiative of NEMA working with institutions of government to ensure disaster management strategies are not only taught at the elementary level but also becoming a course of study at tertiary education.
The NEMA spoke in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, during a one-day programme tagged: “The Role of Media in Disaster Management,” organised for the members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ekiti State Council.
Espousing his views on the topic, the Principal Search and Rescue Officer, Ekiti State Office, Mr Simisaye Azeez, urged journalists to be painstaking and do due diligence when a disaster occurs, to provide accurate data about the victims to the public to avert secondary disasters.
Azeez said that while the negative effects of such disasters are properly reported, the media should endeavour to communicate the recovery and reconstruction processes effectively to the public to calm frayed nerves.
He said: “NEMA influenced the integrating of risk reduction disasters’ prevention in the school curricular. Disaster can be reduced if people imbibe a prevention culture and develop it. It helps to reduce disasters at the grassroots level, where they normally happen.
“NEMA created a platform through which disaster management can be taught up to the university level. NEMA also worked with the Ministry of Education to ensure that emergency management is taught at the primary level, so that the message can start sinking into our citizens’ minds right from childhood.
“NEMA in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps also established emergency management vanguards using corps members to form disaster reduction clubs in schools,” he said.
Azeez added that having insurance cover for businesses and property for an effective risk transfer mechanism would help in strengthening the disaster management process.
Responding to poor management of the disaster situation in Nigeria, the Head of NEMA Operation Office in Ekiti State, Mr Olusegun Afolayan, said the body has been doing its best to respond to disaster in the country.
Harping on the need for media to be cautious in reeling out data, Afolayan said: “it is worthy to note that releasing information about a disaster is not a bad idea, but we have to think about the effect of such on the public.
“Let me say that news about disaster shouldn’t be assertive, it shouldn’t be written in such a way that would create fear. All the media houses should quote figures they can ascertain in order not to exacerbate the problem because conflicting figures can create confusion.”