Over 20 civil society organisations (CSOs) and religious bodies have advocated for proactive measures to prevent disasters and reduce risk in Nigeria through individual and community collaboration.
The coalition made the call at an interactive forum, organised by the Christian Rural and Urban Development Association of Nigeria (CRUDAN), South-West, on Tuesday in Ibadan.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event focused on issues, challenges and community response to disaster risk reduction, with a view to engendering development in the country.
Mrs Omotayo Adebayo, Head of Programme, Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), in her lecture entitled ‘Disaster Risk Reduction: The Nigerian Perspective’, urged Nigerians to be proactive in preventing disasters.
Adebayo noted that the cost of prevention was lower compared with management after disaster might have happened, adding that this might involve huge financial cost.
“We should have community response from everybody. If there is warning signs or you notice that things are not going on well in your community, speak up.
“Form formidable groups; do not allow things to deteriorate before you respond to it, as that may come at a very high cost.
“We are clamouring for disaster management clubs in schools to catch them young. From young age, children should see themselves as stakeholders in protecting their environment,” Adebayo said.
She noted that disaster was a humanitarian crisis that should be averted, as it concerned everybody.
Also, Mr Tony Fasehun, Programme Officer, CRUDAN Southwest, said that the event was a reawakening on everyone to protect the environment.
Fasehun said that man-made and natural disasters had greater consequences hence, the need to be climate-smart and stop negative attitude towards the environment.
“Whether we like it or not, the consequences of climate change are too enormous. It has no positive impact to the wellbeing of the people.
“Apart from the health hazards, it can also lead to displacement of people and gulp lots of money to manage the effects of climate change,’’ the CRUDAN programme officer said.
He noted that people’s attitudes to waste disposal, bush burning and deforestation needed to change in order to have a good environment.
In his remarks, Dr Adebimpe Aderounmu, a development practitioner, advised government to provide structure for disaster prevention and management.
Aderounmu, the Head Operations, Development Advocacy and Values Renaissance Initiative, said that Nigerians should demand for good governance and be conscious of disaster management issues.
NAN reports that some of the CSOs at the interactive forum included Environmental Conflict Mediation and Women Development Initiative, Building Blocks for Peace Foundation, Centre for Development and Society Services and Centre for Community Health and Poverty Alleviation.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and ‘Wale Sadeeq