The Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has trained Journalists in Gombe State on how to understand the roles each group plays during emergency or disaster, especially in understanding the parameters for emergency and disaster.
Speaking with Voice of Nigeria at the end of the training, the Head of Operations of Gombe Operations Office, Mr. Simon Katuh, said the training would be quarterly, to provide journalists and other stakeholders with the opportunity to know about the operations of the agency.
According to Mr. Katuh, ”the training would help journalists understand what happens in the field and the roles of each stakeholder, in order to report and develop communication, advocacy, and planning.”
He said a session was conducted on Search and Rescue, to enable journalists understand and become part of the solution, when accusing fingers are pointed in the wrong direction.
“The Gombe Operations Office as part of its mandate, we have the Stakeholder Development Initiative, because we discover in our business of disaster management, we all need to go together, the media work hand-in-hand and they do a lot of work, which helps us in our own side. So, the idea is to bring the media to learn from our job, so that the reportage in which they are giving can be consistent, whether in terms of terminologies, depth, background, facts and processes. So, for us, when the media is informed, reliably and correctly informed, it makes our job easy,” Mr. Katuh explained.
He stated that the terms disaster and emergency are often used by journalists in some occurrences, were wrong.
Mr. Katuh said the agency wanted journalists to speak with all confidence and as such it was better to inform the relevant agencies before any decisions could be taken.
Mr. stressed that the essence of the training was to get journalists understand that they owed people the responsibility to keep them calm, informed and aware, but with correct facts, figures and terminologies.
He said the staff of the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency could also learn from journalists, in terms of what they see in the field, to help them do their work better.
The NEMA Gombe Head of Operations urged journalists to always check the facts during any occurrence, because they could be the first to be informing response agency or someone getting more information from the agency.
Two of the participants, Mrs. Comfort Mukollo and Mr. Williams Attah, expressed their delight in the training provided, while pledging to use the knowledge effectively.