By Gaddafi Ibrahim Tanko
There have been a sigh of relief at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) since the announcement of the removal of the immediate past Director General of the Agency, Engr Mustapha Maihaja and the appointment of a new substantive DG AVM Muhammadu Alhaji Muhammad by president Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigerians May recall that the announcement of the removal and the replacement of the NEMA Boss was Made by via a communication from the office of the secretary to the Government of the federation, where Nigerians hailed the decision describing it as apt and long over due. It must be stated at least for posterity purposes that the immediate past DG Engr Maihaja, ran the agency in a style unprecedented in the history of the Agency as critical assets and infrastructures of the Agency that cost tax billions of naira of tax payers funds where left to rot away without adequate maintenance and repairs.
A critical example of this nonchalant leadership example is how the emergency response and ambulance bay (ERABS) located along strategic points in the Federal capital Territory as well as the air Ambulance section of the Agency where neglected and abandoned by the DG, despite several outcry by staff and media organizations particularly the international centre for investigative reporting (ICIR) and PRNigeria.
The height of the Immediate past DG’s Misdeeds and Missteps is his disregard for due process and domesticated procedures in the management of the affairs of the Agency, This and other activities of Engr Maihaja prompted the House of representatives into probing the activities of the Agency on allegations mismanagement of over 33 billion Naira Emergency intervention funds.
Without Mincing words, NEMA under Engr Maihaja did not operated like an emergency response and disaster Management outfit that it is known to be in the past, as responses to emergency situations where done at snail speed, and sometimes even when done the relief materials are just inadequate considering the magnitude of the disasters facing the country.
THE MAN AVM MUHAMMADU ALHAJI MUHAMMAD
The director general of NEMA, AVM Muhammed, according to a statement by the NEMA spokesman Mr Manzo Ezekiel, was a former Chief of Policy and Plans at the Nigerian Airforce before his retirement. A holder of prestigious national and international flying licenses and recipient of several distinguished military service honours, he had also held other operational and strategic positions in the Nigerian Airforce that include the Air Secretary, Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command and Managing Director of Nigerian Airforce Investment.
AVM Muhammed has flown several aircraft types which include: Air Force One (B737 BBJ), Alpha Jet, Gulf Stream 550, Dassault Falcon 900, Citation Jet, L39 ZA and Bulldog 123. His decorations include General Service Star (GSS), Pass Staff College (PSC+) and Fellow Defence College among others.
The new DG assumes office at a time the country is faced with series of humanitarian problems most especially the dreaded covid19 which urgently requires NEMA’s response.
But Based on the antecedents and the rich profile of the New NEMA Boss there is a consensus Amongst humanitarian stakeholders and Nigerians, That indeed a New Era Beckons at the emergency management outfit.
This is as Nigerians as well as our persons of concerns wait with Baited Breath as the New DG rolls up his sleeves and sets out to tackle the multifaceted and multi sectoral issues confronting Nigeria’s disaster management sector.
The New DG must also avoid the banana peels and pitfalls that led to the unceremonious ouster of the Immediate past Director General.
Tanko is a public affairs analyst, he writes from Abuja.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily