NEMA warns against building on waterways

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Mustapha Maihaja, the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has warned government agencies in charge of building control against approving the construction of buildings on waterways.

Maihaja gave the warning at a capacity building retreat organised for members of staff of the agency on Thursday in Owerri.

He said that building on waterways had become a worrisome phenomenon to the agency and should be given urgent attention by governments at all levels.

Maihaja, who was represented at the event by the Enugu Zonal Coordinator of the agency, Mr Fred Anusim, urged governors to muster the political will to demolish such buildings.

According to him, when the waterways are blocked, there would definitely be flooding in the area because the water would find another direction.

He underscored the need for stronger collablration between NEMA and other stakeholders in disaster management.

The NEMA boss said that his leadership was repositioning the agency to meet international standard, but contended that disaster management was everybody’s business.

He said that the essence of the retreat was to raise the capacity of NEMA staff members to enable them to do the humanitarian job with passion.

“We have organized this retreat across zones for our staff to enable them to see themselves as humanitarian workers, who have been called to serve humanity.

“Monitoring and evaluation, better condition of service and provision of search and rescue are key to disaster management.”

Evans Ugoh, the Coordinator of Imo/Abia Operations Office of the agency, also urged the Imo government to demonstrate strong commitment in addressing flooding in the state.

He further advised the public to ensure that NEMA’s early warning measures were strictly adhered to in order to avert impending disasters.