Nigeria, like the rest of the world, is exposed to a wide range of natural or human induced disasters. While some of these disasters are rapid, others are slow-onset, resulting in catastrophic situations leading to loss of lives and property, degradation of environment. These disasters occur in form of drought, desertification, flooding, epidemics, coastal erosion, dam failure, building collapse, oil spillage, maritime collision or accident, bomb explosion, communal clash, fire, air crashes and boat mishap, amongst others. Historically, salient disasters in Nigeria include, the yearly epidemics such as cholera, measles and cerebro-spinal meningitis. There were drought in the Sudan-Sahel zone of the country in 1972-74 and 1982-84. There were flood disasters in Ogunpa (Oyo State) in 1982, Lagos Bar Beach in 2001, Shiroro and Kaduna in 2003, Gombe in 2004, Jalingo in 2005. Others include, the 2008 landslide in Agwu LGA (Enugu state); and 2005, 2006 and 2009 landslide in Agwagune (Cross River State). Also, Nigeria experienced numerous ethnic, political and religious violent conflicts in Kaduna, Lagos, Kano, Plateau, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba, Benue, Delta, Anambra, Ondo, Osun, Ogun. In addition, there were technological disasters ranging from, the 2002 Ikeja bomb explosion (Lagos State); the 2002 West African Rubber Product Company fire in Ikorodu (Lagos State); the 1992 Hercules C-130 military air-crash at Itokin (Lagos State); the 2002 ADC air-crash at Ejirin (Lagos State); the EAS air-crash in Kano State; the 2005 Bellview air-crash in Lisa village (Ogun State); the 2005 Sosoliso air crash in Portharcourt (Rivers State); the ADC air crash in Abuja. Other technological disasters include the several pipeline explosions and vandalization in the Niger Delta, and series of road traffic crashes among others. Beyond these events, threats posed by frequent oil spills and irreparable damage to environmental and coastal biospheres, increasing levels of industrial pollution, waste and unprecedented climatic changes, and its negative consequences make Nigerians to be increasingly at risk to a wide number of new and emerging hazards. The vulnerability of Nigerians to hazards is a function of several factors. These include, the level of poverty; population growth and distribution; and the condition of human settlements and their infrastructure. Other causative factors include, the level of environmental degradation, level of public awareness, the dynamics of public policy and environment on disaster management. In Nigeria, some feeble efforts have been made to curtail the effects of disasters. Following droughts that devastated the country in the early 1970s, the Federal Government established the National Emergency Relief Agency, mainly to distribute relief materials to victims of disasters. In 1999, NERA transformed into National Emergency Management Agency, with a mandate to coordinate the management of disasters in the country. NEMA has tried to live up to expectations. ORIGIN OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY ON NIGERIA (N.E.M.A)
Organized Disaster Management in Nigeria dates back to 1906 when the Fire Brigade was established with functions that went beyond fire fighting to the saving of lives and property and provision of humanitarian services during emergencies. In the 1960s and 70s, this noble and systematic approach was replaced with ad-hoc arrangements domiciled in the offices of the Head of State and the State Governors. During this period disaster response was considered a mere security issue. In 1972/1973, Nigeria experienced a devastating drought which had negative socioeconomic consequences and cost the nation the loss of many lives and property. This event amongst others led to the establishment of the National Emergency Relief Agency (NERA) in 1976 with the mandate of collecting and distributing relief materials to disaster victims. An Inter-Ministerial body was set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in 1990 to...
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