…As Sen. Adeyemi chides absentee Ministers

 By Dirisu Yakubu

The North-West states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kano should brace up for below-normal rainfall this year, Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika stated in Abuja on Tuesday.

This is even as the Minister urged Nigerians to expect isolated flash floods in 2021 at peak rainfall period in 2021.

Senator Sirika made these disclosures while presenting this year’s Seasonal Climate Prediction, SCP at an event organised by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet and  attended by top government functionaries including a state governor, members of the National Assembly, the academia, traditional rulers as well farmers drawn from states across the country.

This year’s predictions with the theme, “Supporting the economy to cope with the challenges of COVID-19 global pandemic in Nigeria,” covered such areas as aviation, agriculture, water resources, amongst others.

He said: “A normal to above-normal annual rainfall amount is expected for most parts of the country. However, below-normal rainfall totals are expected over a few places in the North-western parts of the country such as Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kano States.

“The 2021 onset of the growing season is predicted to be normal to earlier than normal in most parts of the country. The earliest onset date is likely to occur on the 1st March, 2021 along the coastal line of the country while the latest date is anticipated to be around 29th June in the northernmost parts of the country. However, later-than-normal onset dates are expected over a few places such as parts of Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi and Niger States.

“The earliest cessation date is around 9th October 2021, expected around Katsina and the northern parts of Sokoto while the latest cessation date is expected on the 25th December, 2021 over the Niger-Delta region. Generally, Cessation dates are predicted to be relatively normal in most places except for a few places where cessation dates are expected to be a little earlier or later than normal.

“The normal to above normal rainfall pattern in the country will lead to the possibility of isolated flash floods due to increasing high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in areas that are naturally prone to flooding.”

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According to Sirika, “the 2021 growing season is expected to span between 110 days in the extreme north and over 300 days in the south. Most places are expected to have their usual length of season. However, a few places such as Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT are likely to have a shorter length of season, differing by a few days (about 5 – 14 days).”

Describing NiMet as the best agency in Africa, the Minister commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government in its determination to bequeath to the nation a legacy of service delivery despite the short fall in revenue since he became President in 2015.

“In the wake of increasing trend of uncertainties regarding weather in a changing climate, NiMet has continued to strive for excellence in meeting national, regional and global expectations in weather and climate service delivery. One of these products is the Annual Climate Prediction, ACP. The predictions from NiMet on a seasonal timescale have evolved over time. These involved improvements in the methodology and the lead-time, including the deployment of more analytical tools and models, improved knowledge, and scientific skills and broadening of stakeholders and user community.

“One critical evolvement is the transition from only rainfall to more climate variables. Similarly, the focus and target user community have widened from primarily the agricultural sector to other relevant weather and climate-sensitive sectors of the economy,” he added.

Earlier in his welcome address, Director General of NiMet, Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi said SCP has become an annual ritual in fulfillment of the agency’s mandate “to provide timely, accurate weather and climate forecast as well as advisories to Nigerians against possible adverse and extreme weather and climate events that may affect various sectors of the economy.”

He recalled that most of the predictions by the agency in 2020 came to pass, much to the loss of those who failed to heed the warnings, particularly farmers in rural dwellings.

The NiMet boss called on Nigerians, particularly farmers to embrace climate smart tools such as the SCP to guide against disasters in the future.

Although the event was attended by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Sabo Nanono, his Water Resources counterpart, Engr. Suleiman Nanono, Special Duties Minister, George Akume, Sunday Dare (Youths and Sports) as well as the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Senate Committee Chairman on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi was not happy that most of the President Buhari’s cabinet members were not on ground to witness the event.

He warned cabinet members not to see themselves as men too big to attend government’s functions where issue of prediction of weather and ultimately, planning, was being discussed.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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