By: Prudence Okonna
To effectively manage emergencies at community levels across the 8,000 square kilometers of the Federal Capital Territory, the FCT Administration has inaugurated its Disaster Marshals to educate and coordinate the efforts of first responders.
The Disaster Marshals were unveiled during a sensitization symposium on Disaster Prevention and Reduction in the FCT organized by the FCT-Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in collaboration with the University of Abuja at the University’s Permanent Site, Tuesday.
Speaking at the occasion, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, enjoined the Marshals to take their roles very seriously as it’s a service to humanity.
The Permanent Secretary, who inaugurated the Disaster Marshals, directed FEMA to train them from time to time on different types of disaster management to ensure that they are always on top of their responsibilities.
Adesola noted that the collaboration between the FCTA and University of Abuja to sensitize the students will open doors for more partnership ventures that would develop the Territory.
In his remark, Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah said Climate Change is a reality that everyone must accept and that is why the citadel of learning collaborated with FEMA to sensitize its students on the importance of early warning signs in the management of disaster in the FCT.
The Vice Chancellor explained that beyond training the students in their course of learning, it was important to engage their minds through sensitization, especially in the area of Climate Change to create a responsibility in them to protect their environment and make it more habitable.
His words: “Young people are crucial in the sensitization strategy on Climate Change, because global warming is a reality and the truth is we have not been treating the environment well and the environment is fighting back”.
Also speaking, the Director-General of FEMA, Dr. Idriss Abbas revealed that by inaugurating the Disaster Marshals, they are trying to cascade the disaster risk reduction messages across to the public by getting the younger generation involved so that they can educate their parents, friends, neighbours and immediate community.
He explained that they are likened to the Boys Scout or Girls Guide, who do rescue activities, administer first Aid and generally render emergency services in any case of disaster.
According to him, “With the inauguration of our Special Marshals, who are going to handle some of our responsibilities by the time we train them, they are going to be very helpful. You remember in those days we had the Girls Guide or Boys Scout, which resembles what we have created”.
The DG remarked that plans are underway to create a department on environment to address issues of disaster management and Climate Change, which will be offered by students to deepen the understanding of their environment and management of disasters.
In a paper presentation titled “Climate Change and Local Communities: A threat towards achieving the SDG in the FCT,” Associate professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, Sunday Ishaya said that a major stumbling block to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, was Climate Change, which he said were mostly caused by man-made activities.
He called on all and sundry to take responsibility in making sure that the environment is safe to prevent any form of disasters, like flood.