By Salisu Sani-Idris
Abuja – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), says it will collaborate with the Borno State Government and North East Development Commission to develop a new structure towards eliminating coordination gap in humanitarian response in the North East.
The Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Mustapha Maihaja, made the disclosure when he hosted Mr Richard Danziger, International Organisations for Migration (IOM), Regional Director for West Africa, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Maihaja, who said that coordination gap had been a thorny issue in the activities of NEMA in the North East, assured the IOM official that the initiative by the three agencies would resolve it.
He explained that a secretariat solely for coordination of activities would be establish and all parties would be represented to ensure that the objective of providing succour was attained without delay.
“ In our efforts to improve in our humanitarian response to make it more effective and efficient, we are developing a new structure in our approach.
“ We are collaborating with the Borno State Government and the North East Development Commission so that the gap created in the past, in the coordination front, is reduced to the barest minimum, if not totally eliminated.
“ Currently, we are holding monthly humanitarian coordination forum and, in the course of our discussion in the last three months, we were able to identify critical areas that need our collective efforts, particularly shelter. Areas affected are Damboa and some camps in Gumel camp in Maiduguri,” he said.
Maihaja said that issues of security of personnel that would be involved would be made a priority, adding that without security, the activities of NEMA and other agencies would not be effective.
He assured the official that government would liaise with the military authority to devise a mechanism of reaching to the people that are trapped somewhere within the North East.
Maihaja said that IOM had been a partner to the agency since 2011, not only in the humanitarian response in the North East, but also in the evacuation of Nigerians from Libya which started in 2011.
“We have been working with IOM for long; together with them, we have evacuated more than 10,000 people.
“ Our mission in Libya in early 2018 would not have been successful without the support of IOM Libya, which was facilitated by the IOM Nigeria office.
“ More importantly is our collaboration in the North East, particularly in the area of displacement Tracking Matrix and other related capacity building which IOM has been providing to NEMA.
“ This effort has been on for the last 10 years and we are still on it with the hope that we will keep achieving even more together,” he said.
The DG emphasised that the Federal Government was committed and determined to end the crisis in the North East, adding that government, through NEMA and other agencies, was working hard to restore peace to the region.
He thanked the international partners, particularly IOM, for their continued support to the efforts of government through the provision of all necessary support critical to the activities of NEMA in the region.
Earlier, Danziger had said that the purpose of his visit was to express appreciation for the long partnership IOM had enjoyed with NEMA, and to discuss plans and strategy for future collaborations.
He reassured NEMA of the continued commitment and collaboration of the organisation to the activities of the agency in the North East.
The official expressed happiness over the current situation in the North-East, pointing out that things had improved compared to what he met three years ago.
“ I was here three years ago and I am happy to note that a lot of changes have taken place over the course of time. I just returned from Borno where I visited Damboa and to several camps in Maiduguri.
“I also held a meeting with the governor and later inspected the work that has been achieved by NEMA and SEMA. The situation has indeed improved over the last three years.
“I am very proud to say that IOM, along with SEMA and NEMA, have been managing 136 IDPs camps. We are very proud to be your number one partner when it comes to shelter. I am indeed very happy with the collaboration we have enjoyed together since 2014,” he said.