The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called on government and stakeholders to adopt hazard resistant building standards and environmental regulations to promote disaster management in the country.
Mr Mustapha Maihaja, the Director-General, NEMA, made the appeal at the commemoration of the 2019 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on Monday, October 14, 2019 in Abuja.
Maihaja, who was represented by Mr Sunday Hamman, the Director, Finance and Account of the agency, said that it was important to adopt stringent measures to protect people from the risk of vulnerable infrastructure.
According to him, disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business; as such the need to collaborate on principled and effective disaster management remained paramount.
“According to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, there are about $665 billion direct economic losses during the past three years.
“A considerable proportion of those losses come from infrastructures failures in high-income countries. As we all know weak implementation and enforcement mechanisms are common problems in countries where most urban development is informal.
“As such when critical infrastructure fails, businesses experience indirect losses, as production, distribution and supply chains are interrupted.
“Despite the competing demands for resources, we must work together to improve the lives of the vulnerable citizens as well as enhance their resilience,’’ he said.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, also urged Nigerians to patronise professionals in the building industry to avoid infrastructural disasters.
Fashola, who was represented by the Director, Construction of the Ministry, Mr Mosunmade Odusanya, said that priority should therefore be given for the consideration of planning and other building components that could stand the test of time.
“At the pre-design, design, construction and post construction stages, the provisions in the National Building Code, Fire Code and other environmental prescriptions should be adequately considered.
“Spaces for human habitation, workspaces, setbacks, access roads, fire prevention and fire fighting equipment should take the prime of place,’’ he added.
The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is celebrated on Oct. 13, every year, to assess how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Build to Last’”
By Ruth Oketunde