The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) said most state governments disregarded its forecasts on impending flooding in the country hence the havoc witnessed in the past few weeks.
The Director General of NiMET Professor Mansur Matazu disclosed this while speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the two-day Needs Assessment Workshop for Stakeholders in the Marine, Oil and Gas Sector in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, if most states and organizations adhered to the agency’s weather forecasts, the disasters which crippled most states would have been avoided.
The DG, who was represented at the event by Mailadi Abba (the Director of Weather Forecasting Services at NiMET), insisted that NiMET’s forecasts in the last 12 months had been 90% accurate.
He called on players in all sectors of the economy, including aviation, maritime, industry, agriculture, sports, real estate, and others to partner with the agency to reduce losses and improve performances. He said:
“We gave the warnings and weather for each state, but whether the states adhere to it or not, we are now seeing the result. Most of them did not adhere. But unfortunately, it was only when the flood came that many states were now running to Mr. President cap in hand to get money.
“If they had listened to us, some of these things would have been avoided. We asked them to invite us and gather their stakeholders to allow us to train them on the use of the information and engage with them so that we can have a window through which we can interact with them; giving them updates, and reminding them about what the forecasts say.
“But unfortunately, they didn’t come forth to take the information to their grassroots members. It is only when the flood came that everyone is now calling for relief funds. So, our information is accurate, reliable, and timely. So, I don’t think we are going to have any issues with (sic) accidents due to weather forecasts. You may have some gaps not necessarily from NiMET but from the user itself.”
Matazu explained that the efficiency of NiMET in weather prediction has reduced accident rates drastically in the Nigerian aviation industry, noting that the agency was looking at replicating such an act in the maritime sector with the two-day workshop.
NiMET Warning on 20 States Prone To High-risk Flooding
Last month, NiMET predicted possible flooding in 20 states across the country due to excess rainfall. The states were Kebbi and Jigawa in the northwest, Borno, Bauchi, and Taraba in the northeast, Plateau in the north-central, and Bayelsa in the South-south.
Others were Kano, Adamawa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia, Imo, Enugu, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti.
In the meantime, NiMet advised that State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) should intensify their adaptative, mitigative, and response mechanisms in order to cope with the natural disaster.
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