In the course of Nigeria’s fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, the media has focused on the gallant efforts made by Nigerian security agencies, especially the soldiers. Only the discerning however know, appreciate and salute the silent yet salient efforts made by the staff of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA in providing relief such as temporary accommodation, foods and clothes for displaced Nigerians who are victims of Boko Haram’s attacks on their communities.
In the past four years, numerous victims of natural disasters like the major floods of 2012 and man-made crises like Boko Haram insurgency, have commended NEMA staff of their prompt, caring and continuous attention, thus justifying the essence of the agency’s existence. If many other government organisations could live up to their statutory responsibilities as NEMA does, Nigeria would certainly be a better society. As the wise often say, ‘if a family, community, society, organisation, even nation, is working and producing impressive results, take time to study the leader of such productive entity’. Since his appointment in September 2010 as the Director General, Alhaji Muhammed Sani Sidi charted a course to make NEMA not only to justify its existence, but even surpass organisational expectations. Sidi’s leadership entails the introduction of relevant strategies, utilisation of modern equipment and mobilisation of a well-trained staff to save lives and billions of properties. His disaster-management approach is proactive as well as consultative, involving liaisons with other relevant government parastatals.
Under Sani Sidi’s leaders, NEMA has deployed and continues to deploy latest technologies to advance the cause of disaster management. The agency also introduced the toll-free emergency contact number: 0800 CALL NEMA/ 080022556362, which any Nigerians could call; empowerment of volunteer groups like Executive Volunteers, Grassroots Volunteers, Youth Volunteers; training and retraining of staff and stakeholders through regional seminars, conferences, simulation exercises; improvement in early warning alerts by NEMA, which has assisted in good measures in reducing risks from excessive rainfall that often result in massive flooding annually. In addition, the agency made giant strides such as timely response to disaster occurrences like bomb explosions, collapsed buildings. NEMA successfully evacuated stranded Nigerians from troubled nations like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and re-united them with their families in Nigeria; timely humanitarian intervention in situations of internally displaced persons (IDPs) as well as relief distribution to victims of such displacement. And just recently, NEMA facilitated the establishment of emergency response ambulance bays within Abuja as its pilot scheme. Other cities and towns will soon be reached through the scheme.
For its numerous successes recorded between 2013 and 2014, NEMA was recently presented with the 2014 National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) for its prompt disaster response and management by the federal government. Alhaji Sani Sidi was also decorated with a National Award of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (OFR) in October 2014.
Before he received the OFR honour, President Goodluck Jonathan reappointed him as Director General for his meritorious and result-laden leadership at NEMA. And for repositioning a staid, underperforming NEMA into a dynamic, proactive government agency, Sani Sidi is one of the selected Public Administrators of 2014