By Ebele Orakpo
Weather experts at the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, have warned of increase in the rate of road accidents during the rainy season unless the relevant authorities heed the warning and act on it accordingly.
In a report entitled, 2010 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction and Socio-Economic Implications for Nigeria, the meteorologists, who attributed the current weather condition to the el-nino phenomenon, noted that though there would be a shortfall in rainfall, especially in the northern part of the country occasioned by the el-nino, the rainy season would be marked by severe rain storms and strong winds which could reduce visibility and cause most of the city roads to be slippery and unsafe to travel on a high speed, especially for vehicles with worn tyres.
They called on the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, to ensure that motorists plying the roads have good tyres and maintain minimum/controllable speed to reduce the rate of accidents during the period.
The weather experts also appealed to government at all levels to ensure adequate maintenance of roads before the rains set in. They also appealed to the police and the public to be more cautious and vigilant as, according to them, scientific findings have shown that activities of hoodlums and vehicle theft increase during the rainy season.
Meanwhile, reports from some states in the North seem to validate NIMETâ€™s prediction on the effect of the weather on the health sector as outbreaks of cerebrospinal meningitis have been reported.
According to news from Jigawa State, no fewer than 13 persons were killed by cerebrospinal meningitis in the state between January and March 1.
In Bauchi the disease has killed no fewer than 22 children in the last two months. The Executive Secretary of Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, PHCDA, Dr. Musa Dambam, said 138 cases of the disease were recorded in 15 of the 20 local government areas of the state between January and February with 22 dead in 15 LGAs.