Weather and climate issues have become central to all conversations around the world. In Nigeria where the subject is still alien to many, rains and floods are challenges that affect the cities adversely yet, the country has not considered how to resolve the issues?
Apparently, Nigeria is not known to question the priority of tackling weather and climate issues in our region. These are some of the many challenges that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency is seeking to resolve.
The agency is currently under the Federal Ministry of Aviation and is charged with the responsibility of providing meteorological services such as weather forecasting, climate information, early warning systems, and weather and climate-related disaster mitigation strategies with a view to supporting sustainable development across all socio-economic sectors of the nation.
The mission of NiMET is to observe Nigerian weather and climate and provide meteorological, hydrological, and oceanographic services in support of national needs and international obligations.
NiMet is mandated to advise the government at all levels on mitigation of climate change challenges, as well as exploring opportunities on weather and climate-related phenomena.
They analyze all data to provide timely and accurate forecasts and most of their forecasts achieve an impressive, according to NIMET, 90% accuracy.
It was the rubric when the NGF met with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) on Monday, April 11th at the NGF Secretariat to discuss the potential for partnership.
The team from NiMET was led by their Director General and CEO, Professor Mansur Bako Matazu, who suggested that when it comes to the weather, there are no boundaries.
‘‘We are present in every state of the federation. In some states, we have more than three offices. We are present in all Nigerian airports whether it is the local or international airports,’’ and when it comes to Agriculture, he stated, the relationship depends on second-guessing the climate to know the prevalence and availability of water as rainfall or from underground.
‘‘For agriculture, we have tailored products. Farmers need information on when to plant, the season and so they know how to plan their activities. Our activities are tailored for smallholder farmers,’’ said Mr. Matazu.
In addition, as it relates to educational institutions having access to such information, he stated that across schools and educational institutions, NIMET has more than 113 weather stations. However, he proposed that instead of students and researchers seeking to obtain data, they can generate data themselves.
Mr. Matazu added that in Nigeria, NiMET is one of the few institutions that build capacity and skills.
Each year, he disclosed, his agency invites ten Governors to relay information.
‘‘We can’t execute our goals without partnership. We translate all our reports into different languages. Every year, we review the previous year’s climate and try to link it to the long-term trend. We have been doing this for the last 10-12 years,’’ he said.
NiMET believes that they can still do more through having effective partnerships.
The Director-General of the NGF, Mr. Asishana B. Okauru commended NiMET for the great work they are doing, which emerged clearly from the presentation made.
Mr. Okauru said that when it comes to partnering with the Governors, the first task would be how to force it into the priority of the states and advised that it would be best for the team at NiMET to regularly present what they do to Governors at the induction stage.
The DG added that once you get the buy-in of the Governors, it makes the process easier. Mr. Okauru also stated that they need to engage the stakeholders at the state level.
Mr. Matazu said the team would be delighted to provide information about their meteorological services at the induction adding that that would get NiMET moving from societal acceptance to becoming more visible and relevant.
He requested the NGF Secretariat to set up a desk with the Governors.
‘‘We want to have local literature that climate change is affecting specific areas and the reasons why; to attach value to the forecasts and to have the costs included into the GDP sector,’’ said Mr. Matazu.
Mr. Matazu further concluded that sensitization and advocacy are critical and invited the NGF Secretariat to the NIMET studio to see wonders.
By Isioma Ononye,
NGF Social Media Officer