The Director-General, Emergency, Crisis, and Disaster Risk Management Institute, Dr. Chuks Akawo, has called for more collaboration with Nigerian journalists, to educate the masses on disaster, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Chuks made the disclosure during the institute’s maiden Annual National Summit and Stimulations/Conference of Fellowship Award and Induction of New Members, with the Theme “Pre And Post Disaster Risk Reporting: Important Challenges, Opportunities ” held on Saturday in Lagos.
According to him, we must recognise that emergency, crisis, disaster, safety, environmental and risk management is a multidisciplinary field.
He said that the institute would like to affiliate and collaborate with the Nigerian media to organise public sensitisation and advocacy programmes aimed at educating the Nigerian masses about disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery.
“This Maiden Annual National Summit/Simulation is designed for journalists and media executives, to gain technical knowledge and learn practical skills on integrating disaster preparedness and mitigation in their beats.
“It is aimed at shaping journalists’ understanding of the importance of pre-disaster reporting. The summit will identify challenges and opportunities for journalists working in the field of disaster risk management.
“The summit will also reflect on the best practices to improve on media reporting of preparedness, response and risk reduction; lay down priority areas and strategic directions for the media and prepare trained Nigerian Journalists to spread the knowledge of disaster preparedness and response,” Akawo said.
In his good will message, the Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Dr Mansur Liman, said the corporation was proud to associate with the organisation and other individuals, whose activities were targeted at capacity building.
Liman, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Malam Sulaiman Musa, said that the media was a critical stakeholder in emergency management, adding that they were always at the forefront in any emergency.
“Effective information dissemination is critical for the coordination of all humanitarian aspects of emergency, through factual and objective reportage.
“In the last two decades, Nigeria has experienced a number of emergencies from the 2002 Ikeja cantonment Lagos Bomb, the 2012 flooding, to the Ebola outbreak of 2014.
“These events have to a large extent either positively or negatively affected the social, political, economic dynamics in Nigeria as well as impacted on government policies and programmes,” Liman said.
He, however, commended the effort of the organiser of the programme, for taking the initiative to contribute to building the capacities of journalists and media executives with the requisite skills of understanding the importance of pre-disaster reporting.
A Director with the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Mr Francis Ayuba, commended the prompt efforts of the media on environmental issues and urged their employers to always provide protection gadgets for their safety.
The Assistant Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Mrs Adeleke-Ashimi Muyinat, urged journalists to keep acquiring knowledge to assist them in reporting emergency situations and disasters better.
In her goodwill message, a correspondent of African Independent Television, also a fellow of the institute, Mrs Nkoli Omohoudu, said that emergency and disaster reporting was a critical task.
Omohoudu pleaded with the media to be safety conscious especially during emergencies even as they try to break the news. (NAN).