Highly revered Nigerian clergy, Prophet TB Joshua, has said he predicted the latest act of world terror in Belgium.

TB Joshua
T.B. Joshua released a video to YouTube claiming he foretold the strike some weeks earlier.
Speaking of a ‘French country’ in his time of prophecies on Sunday 31st January 2016, the cleric said, “They have to tighten their security; it’s not yet over. These evil people are in the town.” 
The popular ‘prophet’ was seemingly referring to the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in Paris that left 130 dead in November 2015. 
“The people they chased out – there are some that are still there. They want to strike back.” 
He added that the ‘evildoers’ would look for an opportunity to strike an ‘assembly of people’. 
“They will blow – a lot of people will die. It will be the North part of a French country,” Joshua warned, calling on congregants and viewers of his popular Christian channel Emmanuel TV to prayer. 

Watch the video below:

It will be recalled that in the early hours of Tuesday 22 March 2016, three explosions occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem and one at Maelbeek metro station in Brussels. 
At least 34 people were killed and 230 others injured in the deadliest act of terrorism on Belgian soil. 
Shortly after news of the attack, terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility in ‘revenge for Belgium’s role in fighting militants in Syria and Iraq’. 
“We pray that God would strengthen the families and friends all the victims of the horrific terror attacks that took place in Brussels,” the description of the Emmanuel TV YouTube clip solemnly concluded. T.B. Joshua has gained a reputation for ‘predicting’ disasters. 
He also claimed he predicted the last terror attacks in Paris, the disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370, the death of pop legend Michael Jackson and a host of other international incidents. 
His alleged prophetic ability was recently questioned by Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika who described Joshua as a ‘false prophet’ in response to a rumour the cleric had foretold his impending death.


Bomb Blast in Nigeria's Capital - Prophecy - T.B. Joshua


In this piece, ARUKAINO UMUKORO and GBENGA ADENIJI examine the 2014 prophecies made by some Nigerian clergymen which did not come to pass

At the twilight and dawn of every year, it has become customary for Nigerian clerics to reel out prophesies on what to expect in the New Year. While few of these predictions manifest, many of them fail to see the light of the day.

Predictions are, however, not limited to Christian clerics. Members of other faiths and beliefs are known to have made predictions not only in Nigeria but all over the world.

Notable in Nigeria in the last two decades of the last century were Prof. Godspower Oyewole, a metaphysician, and Prof. Sam Akpabot.

While Oyewole gazed into his crystal ball to give earth-shaking predictions on a wide array of subjects including politics, economy and environment, Akpabot limited himself to sports. He was called the Oracle of Nigerian sports. The two gentlemen are now deceased.

Like in the past years, some of the prophecies made in 2014 by some Nigerian seers did not come to pass, causing many Nigerians to take some of these prophesies with a pinch of salt.

Aregbesola will be abducted — Olabayo

The founder of the Evangelical Church of Yahweh, Theophilus Olabayo, predicted late 2013 that Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola risked being kidnapped in the New Year of 2014.

Olabayo, who prophesied in his 2014 Book of Predictions that a South-West governor would be kidnapped, told a national newspaper (not THE PUNCH) during an interview to expatiate on the predictions that the governor could also be killed.

He said, “Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has to be watchful so that they will not kidnap and kill him in the New Year. He has to be very careful so that he can survive the year.” However, the governor was not killed in the year and no attempt to kidnap him was recorded.

2014, Nigeria’s year of economic boom — Olusegun

For Akiode Olusegun who is the General Overseer of the Ogun State-based Divine Ministries International, 2014 would be a year of economic surplus for Nigeria. He had specifically noted among other predictions that “2014 is a year of economic growth for Nigeria.’’ It was number 24 of the 33 predictions made by the pastor for the year.

Last year was, however, everything but financially buoyant for Nigeria. The decline in the price of crude oil affected the government to the extent that the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, outlined government’s austerity measures aimed at cushioning the impact of the oil slump on the economy.

Olusegun further said in number 30 of the prediction outline that, “Some notable people will commit suicide by drinking poison to escape hammer from government.’’ Rather than this, Nigerians only witnessed a higher level of impunity from individuals in government circles.

Presidential ticket will split APC — Suleiman

Apostle Johnson Suleiman, who is the founder and Senior Pastor of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, was also among the clerics who predicted major occurrences in 2014. He had said the contest for the presidential ticket to select the individual who would be the standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress for next month’s election would split the party. However, the opposition political party managed the primary election so well that the eventual winner and former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, was congratulated by fellow opponents.

Buhari contested the primary election against Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and the Publisher, Leadership Newspapers, Sam Nda-Isaiah.

Suleiman also said, “I saw a colonel in the military trying to stage a coup but he will fail.’’ Such a development did not happen in 2014.

Another prophecy of his that, “I see CBN printing high denomination naira notes this year,’’ also never materialised in 2014.

Chibok girls will return unhurt — T.B Joshua

Popular Pastor Temitope Joshua, the General Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations with headquarters in Lagos is one cleric who regales his followers with predictions which they claim come to pass.

In a two-minute, 55 seconds video clip on tbjoshuawatch, TB Joshua, as he is popularly called, said, “Unless I’m not called by God, I place my career and calling on the line that these 200 schoolchildren and girls that were kidnapped have to be released immediately, unharmed and unhurt.” The video quoted Joshua as saying this on May 3, 2014.

More than seven months after, the girls have yet to be released. The few who reportedly escaped had told the world of the sufferings and assaults they underwent in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents.

‘Missing Malaysian plane ‘ll be found’

Joshua was also said to have declared to his congregation on March 15, 2014 that the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 would be found. In the same video clip, with “SCOAN Live Prophetic Service” on its scroll bar, Joshua said, “There is a big controversy going on in the world about the missing Malaysian plane. They don’t know where the plane is. I’m the only minister, if not only me, that God used to speak about this issue. But the whole thing is coming to an end. The whole thing has come to an end, in the sense that they would discover the plane, they would discover the particles, everything would end any moment from now. So, this coming week, we are not going to be talking about it again, rather the families concerned would know their fate.”

The Malaysian plane is yet to be found.

‘Write off Ebola Virus Disease’

In another video clip reportedly recorded in August 2014, the synagogue preacher declared that Ebola would be a ‘write-off’. He said, “People of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are released. The whole thing is (a) write-off. The life we have been living before now, we are back to that (sic).”

While Nigeria has since been declared Ebola-free, the dreaded disease has killed over 8,000 people and infected over 20,000 mainly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. And it is still raging.

‘There will be terror attack in UK’

According to tbjoshuawatch, “On August 29, 2014, the UK’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre changed the UK threat level from international terrorism from substantial to severe. Two days later, Joshua predicted a terror attack in the UK sometime between the middle and end of September.”

No terror attack was launched on the UK in the said year.

Nigeria will do well in Brazil — Olubode

Prophet Michael Olubode of the Celestial Church of Christ is another seer who reels out predictions to Nigerians at the twilight of every year, giving them a glimpse into the coming year.

Writing on his website, Olubode said, “Nigeria will perform exceedingly well in this year’s World Cup but the Super Eagles will not win the cup. This is how the breakdown of how the game will look like: The Iranian team will either draw with Nigeria or place the Super Eagles in a qualifying state on the game to be played on June 16, 2014. Then, Nigeria will record impressive victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 21 and another victory against the Argentina team on June 25.”

The 2014 World Cup outing has been the worst for Nigeria. Nigeria crashed out after losing 0-2 to France in the second round. Although they played a goalless draw with Iran and won only one match, a 1-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Eagles lost 3-2 to Argentina in the group stages.

‘Nigerian will win world class beauty peagent’

Olubode also said, “It has been revealed to me that in the latest news of BBC and CNN, Nigeria will once again be announced as the winner of one of the world class beauty contests this year. I advise stakeholders and lovers of Nigeria to pray well that this great expectation will come to pass. Many nations will envy and respect Nigeria for this.” This did not happen.

‘Buhari, Atiku will be abducted’

“I see Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice-President under Obasanjo, taken captive with the unfortunate politicians to suffer and possibly die over the coming crisis in the country. He will, however, be saved miraculously from the pangs of death and torture. The crisis will not spare the ex-head of State, Muhammadu Buhari. He will be taken with some Nigerian politicians this year at his residence while dinning and winning and enjoying himself with his guests,” Olubode also said.

This also did not come to pass. Neither Abubakar nor Buhari was attacked or kidnapped.

Similarly, Olubode said, a country that is least expected will win the World Cup.

This too did not come to pass as Germany who had earlier won the tournament three times lifted the coveted trophy for the fourth time in Brazil.

US will overrun Syria — Ayodele

Founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele is also renowned for his prophecies. He said about 2014:

“President Jonathan needs to be prayerful as there are plans by the international community to embarrass his government. America will take over Syria no matter what. The President of Syria may be killed if he is not careful, as many nations would rise against him. The Emir of Qatar will be troubled by reforms.”

Syria is still in the throes of a bloody civil war, while some parts of it have been overrun by the terrorist group, ISIS. The US has yet to take over the country. Also, the President of Syria is very much alive, while Qatar has remained trouble-free.

Akpabio will lose office — Ituen

Founder and Spiritual Leader of CDM-Christ Deliverance Ministries Inc. Lagos, Prophet Ekong Ituen prophesied that Akwa Ibom State would have a change of government in the outgone year.

He said, “Akwa Ibom State will soon have a change of government through the court of law as earlier predicted. I am urging the governor to put his office and documents in order in preparation for a new government. I advise the good people of my state to keep their faith alive and watch out God in action. It may take a little but I am confident because it is obvious in the spirit that your governor will not complete his tenure in office. Governor Godswill Akpabio should put his office and documents in order in preparation for a new governor.” This was never so. Up till now Akpabio still holds sway as the governor of the state.

Mr. Bola Ilori, a public commentator, told SUNDAY PUNCH that some clergy men often speak in parables.

He said, “There are some men of God who instead of being blunt couch their predictions in parables hence they are neither here nor there. Some people have, however, labelled these people as being smart in their predictions.

“One which came to mind is the one given by Oyewole before the 1983 general elections. He was asked who would become Nigeria’s next president. He told his interviewers that the name of the winner is in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. The supporters of Chief Obafemi Awolowo were quick to jump to conclusion that it was Awolowo, as his Christian name was Jeremiah. When the results were released, Shehu Shagari won. When accused of making a wrong prediction, Oyewole disagreed. He told them that the name Shamgar was in the Bible stating the book, chapter and verse.”

Ayodele, also explained that misconceptions occurred because of people’s poor knowledge about prophesy.

He said, “Nigerians don’t understand when a man of God speaks. We should not blame many men of God who said things in the past that did not come to pass. Everything is in the hands of God. He is the one who has the final say about everything that happens.”

Similarly, Olubode, while responding to one of the persons who faulted some of his prophecies posted online that, “I just want you to know that I am not a prophet appointed to compete for a medal. I am not also expected to deliver accurate prophecy all the time, but all these imperfection has (sic) not also disqualified me from being a prophet of God. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. Many are of the view that a prophet must be perfect in his vision all the time, this is not so.”

Speaking on the issue, Director of Studies, United Bible University, Lagos, Prof. Kunle Macaulay, described clergymen making predictions as uninformed. He added that the era of prophecy had long gone.

He said, “Our people do not know that the ministry of prophets has ended. We are now in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The beginning of prophecy was when the elders of Israel demanded for a king to judge them (1 Samuel 8). Those who still prophesy do not have the required spiritual knowledge. The prophecies they are making will not come to pass once they are not from God.’’

Macaulay, who likened predictions to guesswork and psychology, noted that whatever did not emanate from God would not come to pass.

“The work of God is progressive and as far as I am concerned, one will know when a prophecy is not from God,” he added. Copyright PUNCH.



S’Africa’s figure of 115 dead victims at Synagogue strange –Farinloye

In this interview with GBENRO ADEOYE and ERIC DUMO, the Public Relations Officer of the National Emergency Management Agency, South West Zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, speaks about emergency response in Nigeria and NEMA’s experience following the recent collapse of a building within the premises of the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos

Aou were at the Synagogue Church of All Nations after one of the buildings collapsed what was the experience like for officials of NEMA?

Well, we had never been to that area before. When we heard about the situation, immediately, I understood that we had to apply an international disaster response initiative because of the foreign nationals involved. I realised that if not handled properly, it would lead to a diplomatic row between Nigeria and the various countries whose nationals were victims. So we had to exercise utmost caution and apply the best global practices in disaster response; that’s what we did.

There were allegations that your work was impeded by church workers, how did that happen?

We would have done better if we had not been impeded. The golden hour of emergency response is crucial; immediate response saves lives and that is the essence of getting there early. Maybe if we were allowed full access, the operation wouldn’t have lasted more than 24 hours.

When we got there, nobody could tell us the extent of what was involved. We didn’t know how many people were trapped, what was on ground and other necessary information. In addition to the hostilities, the information was not there to help us.

However, I won’t be able to say more than that because there is a coroner’s inquest into the cause of the collapse. Up till now, we have successfully managed both the diplomatic and internal issues related to it.

But people say that regardless of being impeded, NEMA was very slow in its response and in the way it managed the incident?

I don’t understand what you mean by ‘very slow.’ If it had to do with Synagogue, I don’t think that is right. We got there at about 30 minutes after the collapse, in spite of the traffic and distance from our office. By the time we got there, some agencies were already there. The first agency that responded was the police; the police were there within 10 minutes of the incident. So I wouldn’t say the response was slow. The police had cordoned the place off, then the fire service got there. The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, which was closer to the place at the time, moved in as well and other responders. And don’t forget that when you talk of response, NEMA is not an agency on its own; it combines the resources of all the other agencies. We have more than enough agencies in the country that respond to disasters. We have the Department of State Security Service. Even journalists are part of emergency responders because the NEMA mandate says when it’s an emergency, all hands must be on deck. But when professionals get there, they try as much as possible to incorporate whoever they find there in the operation. NEMA’s lateness is not applicable in the matter at all.

Was NEMA not embarrassed that Nigerians had to rely on South Africa for the actual casualty figure of what happened on their soil?

I don’t know if you are taking the South African figure as authentic. But we were on ground, we worked and whatever we gave you was what we found to be the fact. We worked to the ground zero and after that, we said it was 86 people that were found to be dead, whose bodies were recovered and we had 131 people rescued alive.

You know, when we carry out operations like this, our concern is not the immediate figure we roll out; it is the trauma suffered by the relatives and the community. So if the situation is not managed well, the problems of relations who already had two or three ailments they were nursing before the incident will be compounded at the end of the day. We are not dragging any issue with anybody but there is a process the South African government was supposed to follow, I don’t know why the government acted the way it did. You will notice South Africans have been talking and NEMA has not uttered a word. It’s only NEMA that relates directly with any foreign organisation in terms of disaster management. So the South African government or its emergency agency was supposed to be relating with NEMA directly to get any figure. Whether they wanted to come into the country or go out, they were supposed to relate with NEMA. But why they chose to do what they did is left to them. However, as I have said, I won’t say anything about Synagogue since inquest is ongoing, so details of the issue will be tackled at the inquest. There are rules and regulations and NEMA specifically mandates us on what to do and what not to do when it comes to international issues like this since religious tourists were involved. It’s just like Nigerians going to South Africa or Israel, if something like this happens there, how do we relate with them? So there are global standards in doing this. We don’t have conflicting figures between Nigerian agencies that handled the issue, all of us were working in harmony. The states and local governments were all working in harmony and everything would be released after the DNA. You know forensic analysis takes time. We have to carry out forensic analyses and all that. Some bodies were mangled and all that, so it is after the analyses that we can start talking about final figures.

So are you saying you don’t have the final figures now?

No, we don’t as of now.

Are you aware that some people still cannot find the bodies of family members?

I have said it, if you are claiming that your family members are still missing, then bring something, shoes, clothes, toothbrush, all these things. We have a special service called ‘disaster victims identification process;’ so any of the personal effects of the victims, we call for them. We test everything with all the victims available, and it’s until when we see samples that match with what is brought, then we can say so and so victims belong to this group. So it’s a process that requires utmost patience so that we won’t mix up the bodies and give the wrong bodies to families. It’s not like we have anything to hide. We don’t have anything to hide.

Looking at the footage of the collapsed Synagogue building, from your experience, do you think Prophet T.B. Joshua’s allegation of controlled demolition has some credibility?

Let the coroner handle that. Our own is to intervene on humanitarian grounds; investigation and causes of disasters are not part of NEMA’s responsibilities.

We’re only asking for your opinion based on your years of experience in handling issues like this?

I have experience but I’m not going to talk about that, so let’s leave it.

But beyond the Synagogue building collapse, this is not the first time that we would be having conflicting figures of casualties from NEMA. If you followed the mall attack in Kenya, the public was getting updates and there were no conflicting figures?

At that time, do you remember that the Ghanaian government did not release any figure that one, two or three of its nationals were involved. The Ghanaian government allowed the host country to handle it the way it should be handled. So everything was coordinated properly. If we were given that room, it would have been like that. Nigeria has a very sophisticated emergency management system; South African emergency agencies even came to NEMA to understudy us and we assisted them in coming up with their drafts. They came around 2005 to understudy NEMA, so it’s a process. When you talk of the whole of Africa, NEMA is still one of the best emergency management outfits. In the whole of West Africa, NEMA still oversees their activities. About figures, don’t let us go too deep into it, when people are trying to learn, it’s better you sit up properly and learn and know what is involved. Emergency management is a very dynamic issue. You spoke about an attack on a mall in Kenya, it’s just a mall where you have information of people going in and out and where CCTVs are working. But in this case, the CCTVs didn’t tell us what was going on. The information we needed was not readily available. If you talk about the last bomb blast in Abuja, we were able to come up with the casualty figure faster because as people were being rescued and taken to hospitals, we were collating the figures. The dynamism of disaster management is such that the way you handle one is not the way you will handle another. It’s until it occurs that we figure out how to confront it.

A lot of people still believe that beyond the initial hostilities NEMA claimed to have experienced at the Synagogue, the handling of the situation would have been better if the agency had modern gadgets?

You see, I don’t want to talk about that and I don’t understand what you mean by modern gadgets. But we have the best gadgets that are applicable. We have a multipurpose search and rescue vehicle that is 2014 model; there is nothing it cannot handle. When you talk of search and rescue, I think we still have the best. Globally, we still have one of the best. However, there is no single agency in the world that has all the equipment. It’s the collation of equipment from various bodies that make emergency response work well. If there is an emergency situation here now and you are a doctor passing by, once you are identified as a medical doctor, NEMA mandate says that you can be co-opted immediately under compulsion and failure to do that will attract a penalty. So anything available within the country is a resource belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria, including private equipment. We will use it for emergency purposes and after that, we will return it and sit down to see what we can give you for your services. So whatever is available within the country is at the disposal of emergency responders to use. But for lack of information at the initial stage, the operation shouldn’t have taken us more than 24 hours round the clock.

How long did it take eventually?

After we got full access to the place on Sunday (two days after the incident), we finished on Thursday because we didn’t have enough information as to the location of people. The information we were supposed to work on was not fully available to us. But I don’t want us to delve too much into the Synagogue issue because details will still come later.

Why is crowd control during emergency and rescue operation always horrible? It happened in all emergency situations in the country including the Nyanya park blast and the Dana Air crash.

About Dana crash case, you cannot be responding and then see small children, elderly people, pregnant women, physically challenged people blocking you and run over them. There is nowhere the scenario doesn’t happen. The last air crash in the US, which happened within the perimeter of the airport, you saw the number of people that rushed in despite the fence there. In emergency management, there is humanitarian principle, which is to cause low or less harm. So at no given time are we allowed to cause harm to anybody because we are responding to an emergency situation anywhere. When we have such crowd, we try as much as possible to manage it. We tell the police not to beat anyone. Crowd control in emergency management is different from crowd control in a stadium. So it’s part of the dynamism of emergency management. You can see that the police now have disaster management unit, it’s to enable us to train them and tell them what we need. It’s the same thing we do with the military. The air force and the navy all have emergency response units. And once we call them, they respond.

Why do fire service men respond to an emergency situation, only to say they have no water. Why are they there in the first place?

Well, I wouldn’t know but one of the major problems we have is the unavailability of water hydrants. You have to go three to five kilometres to get refilled, so it’s not that the fire service doesn’t have water. They have but it’s the point of refill that is the problem. Hydrants are supposed to be less than 500 metres apart. Fortunately, Lagos State Government is doing that. One is opposite the plaza here, there is another one less than 500 metres from there. That is how it should be. So immediately you finish the water you have in your vehicle, you can get another supply or extend your hose there if it’s long enough. We are talking to governments, so gradually we will overcome it. These are things that have been there long before NEMA was conceptualised, but we have been raising the issue. So, let’s be patient and we will overcome it. It’s being addressed now.

What have been the major challenges of working with other agencies. Have there been times when NEMA felt that an agency was encroaching into its jurisdiction?

We don’t have any conflict with any agency because we have various working documents. We have National Disaster Response Plan, which spells out the jobs of various organisations, either private or government. We have Search and Rescue Epidemic Evacuation plan, so we have various working documents like that, therefore, nobody can encroach on other people’s businesses. For instance, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps is purely in charge of crowd control. If a disaster happens, as we are thinking of crowd control, some people’s interest will be to go and vandalise. And that is the responsibility of the civil defence, they will be out there protecting public and private properties from vandalisation during emergencies. All these things are stated out accordingly and everyone is aware. That is why we don’t need to tell one another what to do, but NEMA is there to coordinate.

Beyond crisis management, What is NEMA doing to sensitise the public in order to avert crisis?

This week alone, I’ve been to about five media houses speaking on one thing or the other. The Director-General of NEMA (Muhammad Sidi) has mandated its officials to always let the public know about its activities. That is why NEMA has decentralised publicity to zones. This year alone, we have had over 20 sensitisation programmes in all the states of the federation. NEMA sponsors lots of programmes as well. We have various forums where we address various issues.

You said you don’t have problem with other agencies, what about the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency. We know you two used to have confrontations.

You said ‘used to.’ It’s no longer existing; it was just a misunderstanding. Even twins have little misunderstandings. As I said, once it’s an emergency, we all work together. Then later we can withdraw those who are not supposed to be there. All hands must be on deck when there is an emergency, either for primary or secondary emergencies. As of today, we don’t have problem with anybody. What happened then was just a misunderstanding.

What kind of misunderstanding was it?

The mandate of NEMA clearly states what it should do and everyone is aware of that. Before, they thought NEMA was not supposed to respond to certain issues but Section F of the mandate clearly states that we can mobilise all resources to respond to any distress alert. Mobilising resources doesn’t mean NEMA should be there directly. If we know the agency that should handle a situation, we can call on it to do so and we can be there too. So the dynamism of events determines how they are approached. Emergency management is complex and multidimensional, so there is really nothing between us.

But if there is a fire incident in Lagos today, who takes charge, is it NEMA or LASEMA?

It’s not that NEMA cannot get involved at any time, but you know, emergency itself is whatever turns a normal life into abnormal life. So when it overwhelms the capacity of the affected community, NEMA can move in. If a small room is burning, it’s not mandatory for us to move in. It’s something a small community can possibly handle. But if it is an incident we feel can get bigger, for instance, when the Great Nigerian Insurance house was burning, we were there. The Lagos State Fire Service, Federal Fire Service and so many private fire units turned up but from what we saw, if the sky scraper should go down, some companies and residential houses might be affected. We were already looking ahead. We immediately notified the Defence Headquarters about the incident, so that the Nigerian Army and the Navy would get prepared. And within 10 minutes that we alerted Abuja, the commanders of the various armed forces in Lagos here were already with us, overseeing things. We only left when we were satisfied that the building would not come down. So sometimes when we see the situation, it is then we decide when to move in or out. It depends on the situation because the mandate did not expressly state it the way you’ve phrased the question. Developments determine our involvement.

Now let’s say there is a crisis which NEMA considers serious enough to move in, and LASEMA is already at the scene, which agency then coordinates the operation?

All agencies have specific times that they are to coordinate. If it is within the airport premises, aviation knows it is supposed to take charge. We know who should coordinate just as if it is outside the airport premises. If the situation is medical, like in the case of the Ebola Virus Disease, all agencies moved in but the Ministry of Health had to coordinate the affair. So it is well spelt out accordingly.

Let’s take you back to the Dana Air crash, there was no coordination. Was it that the agency that should coordinate forgot about its job?

It was not that there was no coordination but an issue of ignorance and lack of understanding. But I won’t go into that; we have solved that problem, so let me leave it at that. With emergency, you never know what will happen tomorrow. I can say that we have done this and that but as we are talking now, another thing may happen and it will be a different ball game from what we have done in the past. What we experienced with the Bellview crash was very peculiar. I participated throughout the investigation and there were peculiarities. So every agency has its roles and responsibilities. We share information, coordinate and do everything together but outsiders may not understand us. Based on that, they may not understand what we’re doing, but we know how we get information and equipment from one another.

Often, we hear victims of disasters that have been relocated to relief camps complain about being abandoned there. Doesn’t NEMA work with relevant agencies after rescue operations to ensure that victims return to their normal lives?

There is a global standard and where you have standard amenities, water and so on, you only encourage people to move in so that things can get to them. After the emergency phase, NEMA will move out and ask states to take over their activities. Before the emergency phase elapses, the relief and rehabilitation unit will be carrying out their needs assessment simultaneously. We relate back to NEMA and ask for the items needed for the affected persons. If it needs NEMA’s direct distribution in conjunction with the state and other agencies, we carry out the first phase. After the emergency phase elapses, we withdraw. However, NEMA is also building camps in not less than six states. For example, we are building camps in Ogun and Oyo states because of their peculiarities. Ogun has flooding issues and we are building them close to airports so that we can easily have access during the process of getting reliefs. Getting supplies to victims is very fast at NEMA; there is no bureaucracy.

Managing emergencies in a place like Lagos where the population swells by the day can be difficult, what strategies is NEMA putting in place to respond faster in rural areas considering the traffic situation?

NEMA is not an island and apart from that, we have emergency management vanguard; we train rural people. At least, not less than 200 persons have been trained in each local government area on the basic skills of safety and emergency management. When anything happens, we get in touch with traditional rulers. The police and the NSCDC are part of emergency managers. Apart from the National Youth Service Corps vanguard we have, there are volunteers and executive volunteers too. We also have secondary school disaster risk reduction clubs, where children are taught on signs of potential hazards and disasters to look out for.

Would you say NEMA is being well funded?

Concerning training, we have more than 100 per cent funding and it is ongoing. But generally, if you pump in the whole money a country has into emergency management, especially disaster risk reduction, it won’t be enough. In every development project, there is a risk and in managing that risk, you need funding. So averagely, the Federal Government is trying as much as possible within the available resources in funding NEMA. However, we will appeal to states and local governments to put more efforts into funding their agencies regularly. What they have is not enough and that is if they have at all.

Copyright PUNCH.