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16 Significant Achievements of Mustapha Habib Ahmed at NEMA




Mustapha Habib Ahmed’s nearly three-year stint at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was characterized by significant and transformative improvements in disaster management and emergency response, leading to the elevation of NEMA to the forefront of disaster management across the entire West African sub-region.

Working in sync with what he has described as “NEMA’s paradigm shift towards disaster risk reduction and to take disaster risk management to the grassroots,” he has left a lasting impact on the agency and the country’s preparedness for emergencies.

Below we look at his tenure with a focus on some of his significant achievements.

1. Leadership and Vision: Mustapha Habib Ahmed’s tenure as the Director-General of NEMA was marked by his visionary leadership, which was instrumental in transforming the agency’s approach to disaster management. His leadership prioritised staff welfare, recognizing that disaster management personnel must be both physically fit and mentally prepared to effectively aid those in need of assistance. This strategic focus has led to the restoration of industrial harmony within NEMA, with staff members demonstrating a renewed commitment to their roles and responsibilities.

2. Completion of NEMA Headquarters: He oversaw the completion of the new NEMA headquarters, which had been abandoned for six years, bringing all departments under one roof and enhancing operational efficiency.

3. World-Class Facilities: Under his guidance, NEMA’s headquarters became more than just an office complex as it was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including an Emergency Situation Room, GIS Laboratory, Nigeria Mission Control Centre and clinic.

4. Modern Communication Systems: He introduced the Hytera modern communication system, enabling real-time communication and live streaming from incident sites, which has significantly improved disaster response coordination.

NEMA DG, Mustapha Habib Ahmed leads an emergency coordination meeting on modulated release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon into the Benue River

5. Enhanced Search and Rescue Capabilities: His tenure saw the procurement of MICU Ambulances, Search and Rescue Boats, and other critical equipment, bolstering the capacity of NEMA’s Search and Rescue teams.

6. Revival of NEMA Air Wing: Mustapha Habib Ahmed was responsible for reviving the NEMA Air Wing, including the Fixed Wing Cessna Citation Air Ambulance and Bell 429 Helicopter, enhancing the agency’s search, rescue, and medical evacuation capabilities.

7. Reconvened the National ECF: On Thursday, August 10, 2023, NEMA reconvened the National Emergency Coordination Forum (ECF), a meeting of multi-sectoral stakeholders comprising agencies of Government, international organisations and the United Nations systems. The reconvening was predicated upon the recognition of coordination and collaboration as vital components of disaster management.

8. Institutionalizing Processes: The launch of the NEMA Service Charter under his leadership helped formalize and operationalize processes, setting clear benchmarks for service delivery while his collaborations with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the US Forestry Service facilitated the training on Incident Command System (ICS) and Emergency Operation Centre (EOC).

DG NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed (middle) flanked by participants at the Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy workshop in November

DG NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed (middle) flanked by participants at the Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy workshop in November

9. Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy: Ahmed spearheaded the development of a comprehensive national Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy (2024-2030) and Action Plan (2024 – 2027) to contextualize, address and anticipate the evolving landscape of risks and challenges facing Nigeria. Under his stewardship, the agency also launched the National Contingency Plan for Nigeria (2023-2025) a pivotal document for emergency preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction.

10. Mitigated flooding: By prioritizing annual predictions and forecasts especially the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) and Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) NEMA was able to minimize the impact of flooding in 2023 thanks to downscaling of disaster early warning measures to grassroots for effective live-saving early actions.

11. Economic Livelihood Emergency Intervention: The Special National Economic Livelihood Emergency Intervention (SNELEI) was initiated and championed during his tenure to provide targeted support during emergencies, reflecting his commitment to not just immediate relief but also long-term economic recovery. SNELEI positively impacted 660,884 households, encompassing 3,965,304 individuals who were previously verified and earmarked to benefit from the special intervention across all 36 states and the FCT.

12. Recognition and Trust: He oversaw the successful evacuation of stranded Nigerians from countries as far-flung as Sudan, Libya, Ukraine, India, Dubai and Turkey in collaboration with agencies such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), National Commission for Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) and Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) with support from the Dangote Foundation.

13. Collaborations and Partnerships: He forged unique collaborations and partnerships while at NEMA with national, state, and sub-national level actors with NEMA forging strong ties with State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs). He initiated deliberate engagement and advocacy with the Sub-national government including presenting a brief on NEMA and the 2023 Flood Preparedness, Mitigation, and Response Plan to State Governors at the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the National Executive Council.

On the international scene, NEMA collaborated and forged partnerships with global relief agencies; it received relief support from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid Agency (KSRelief) to support IDPs in Borno and Yobe states as well as victims of banditry in Zamfara and Bornu states. KSRelief also funded the renovation and retrofitting of the NEMA Emergency Coordination Centre (EOC) at NEMA’s HQ.

14. Capacity building and knowledge sharing: The focus on capacity building and dissemination of knowledge and insights saw the training of military personnel, media practitioners, members of voluntary and community organizations, students, and others and a ground-breaking collaboration with the Disaster Management Centre of Bournemouth University saw NEMA hosting an Executive Disaster Management Course which focused on finding ways to enhance the capacity of disaster responders. He also facilitated a training program on the Incident Command System (ICS) and Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) conducted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the US Forestry Service.

15. Emergency Agricultural Intervention across all states and the F.C.T: Mustapha Habib Ahmed successfully executed the Emergency Agricultural Intervention across all states of the federation and the FCT. This initiative aimed to restore farmers who had lost their croplands to the soil and engage artisans in additional value chain activities. Such efforts were crucial in fortifying Nigeria’s national food security and resilience.

16. Digital dashboard: Supervised 80% completion of the digital dashboard to enhance operational efficiency set to be commissioned in May which would have marked his 3rd anniversary in the saddle.