…calls for collaboration among agencies
Posted by Sade Williams
Director general, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Professor Mansur Bako Matazu, has said that the only way to mitigate flash and excessive flooding in Nigeria is for citizens and organisations to heed and act on early warnings in form of weather predictions and forecast issued by the Agency.
He stated this during an interview on Arise TV on Thursday.
According to him, the Agency started giving its predictions and forecast about weather condition that would prevail in the country as far back as February 15, when the 2022 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) was unveiled by Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika.
The SCP, he said, highlights and emphasises areas of high impact.
”And as far back as February, we have informed Nigerians in all strata that this year was going to be well above normal in terms of rainfall activities and also on the global scale, they are experiencing what is called triple Dipla nina, a weather phenomenon that triggers some climatic changes over parts of the world, including Africa, so this is the third year that the globe experiences La nina, for 2020 and 2021, and of course, this year and and this type of sea surface temperature enhances rainfall activities over this part of Africa.
”And since February, we have also followed up with updates, even on a fortnight basis on the the imminent weather condition, including high impact weather forecast, we’ve been giving this on a 24 hour basis and 72 hours, 33 days, highlighting the areas of high impact, monitoring the soil moisture including also the prevailing rainfall activities.
”So, for this year, the records available indicate all the Northern states experienced well above normal rainfall, even higher, much more higher in terms of intensity and magnitude than the 2012. For Sokoto, they got about 200 percent increase above their normal rainfall activities, parts of Jigawa experienced more than 50 percent increase and this is also just one of the indicators of climate change which triggers high high extreme events such as these types of rainfall and this as we have seen previously, has triggered a flash flood across cities, especially due to high intense fall activities coupled with some of our land use management practices, building on drainages and also excessive cutting down of tress and excess degradation of soil and overgrazing . So this also enhances the runoff normally though our major and smaller rivers and streams and of course, some of the dams got well above their normal inflow and they had to spill some of the excess water and so we got a combination of flash flood due to high intensity rain that persists for this year and the swelling of the rivers due to discharge from the internal dams within the country and some neighbouring countries.
”So for us, we have done our work and Nigerians are our witnesses and we have done excellently well”, he said.
When asked to speak on how to mitigate the situation, Professor Matazu said actions and collaborations by agencies and heeding early warning and predictions would help mitigate effect of climate crisis, although, the change in climate may have cone to stay even with change in rainfall pattern being witnessed in Nigeria.
”There are two things we need to do to mitigate it. First, we need to provide as we are doing, early warning and we are doing very much well in providing early warning, and well in advance, we’ve given the Nigerian citizens about four to five months, at least time, on this information and if in the early warning system there is no early action, the whole essence of that, the whole resources spent will be wasted because people do not heed to such advisory, so we advise the citizens and also the State governments to liaise with agencies like NiMet and Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) in order to integrate all these forecast into their planning activities, including city managers, town and regional planning managers. We’ve given a lot of information. There should be a lot of enforcement in terms of town planning and among other things, we need to continue to do a lot of tree planting because the rate of deforestation in the country is quite alarming. ”, he added.