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First Female DG of NEMA: Fact Check Exposes Presidential Spokesperson, Ngelale

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A fact check by PRNigeria has proven that Presidential Spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, exhibited embarrassing gaffe when he claimed that the newly appointed Director-General (DG) of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mrs Zubaida Umar, was the first female DG of the agency in the country.

It was found that the first female DG of NEMA was also the Director-General of the agency.

Findings show that the first DG of NEMA was a female, Mrs Oluremi Olowu.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale had said in a statement that “Mrs. Umar is the first woman to be appointed as Director-General of this pivotal agency, and her appointment further underlines the President’s avowed commitment to gender inclusion.”
However, in 2009, while celebrating NEMA at 10, the Economic Confidential noted that NEMA evolved from the National Emergency Relief Agency (NERA) set up by Decree 48 of 1976. But in 1997, NERA under the leadership of the then Director, Mrs. Oluremi Olowu, organized a National Workshop involving major stakeholders in disaster management in Nigeria including Oil Companies, construction companies, government and non-governmental organisations and representatives of UNDP.

Zubaida Umar, New DG NEMA, and Oluremi Olowu, first DG of NEMA

The Workshop deliberated extensively on a number of issues and considered several critical success and survival factors for effective disaster Management in Nigeria and came up with a communiqué which:

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a) Noted the need to expand the functions of the National Emergency Relief Agency (NERA) to include holistic management of Disasters in the country, to amend the decree setting up NERA and to change the name of the Agemmnncy to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

b) Noted the need to structure the new agency along the following areas.

According to PRNigeria, by 1998, the same Mrs Olowu of NERA assumed duty as the first DG of NEMA where she served from 1998 to 2002 after which she voluntarily retired to join politics. 

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PRNigeria noted that an AllAfrica report curled from Daily Trust on 20th January 2003 announced Mrs Olowu’s successor as follows:

“President Olusegun Obasanjo has approved with immediate effect the appointment of Alhaji Salihu Shuaibu Makarfi as the acting Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). He takes over from Chief (Mrs) Oluremi Olowu, the immediate past Director-General who voluntarily retired last year.”

She reportedly resigned to contest the governorship of Ogun State.

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The PR agency concluded that based on its findings from several online sources, Mrs Oluremi Olowu was the first DG of NEMA and also the first female chief executive of the pivotal agency contrary to the statement by presidential spokesperson, Chief Ajuri Ngelale. 

“PRNigeria therefore concludes that the claim in the statement by Presidential Spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale that Mrs. Zubaida Umar is the first female Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is False”, the PR agency reported.  

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