THE importance of the onset of every rainy season should not be overlooked by anyone living under our climatic conditions. It is not just farmers that should be specially concerned about the pattern of the oncoming rains.
Everybody, especially government and those who live in areas that are flood-prone, must be alert and take necessary steps to cope.This is obviously why government bodies charged with monitoring our annual rainfall patterns and managing the outcomes of floods issue advisories early every year.
In the middle of February 2022, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, released its Seasonal Climate Predictions, SCPs. Worthy of note was the advisory that Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, parts of Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, Cross River, Bayelsa and Rivers states “are likely to experience delayed onset of rainfall”. This has implications on the planting season and food security.
Also, parts of Cross River, Imo, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi and Yobe states should expect a prolonged rainy season. Apart from flooding, it could also negatively affect harvests. NiMet also warned of the imminence of “Little Dry Seasons”, LDSs, within the rainy season. These are periods of prolonged lack of rainfall. According to NiMet: “Severe LDS may last up to 25 days or longer”. It is expected to affect states like Lagos, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti.
Lagos appears to be the only state which has issued a consequential advisory on the oncoming rain patterns to its residents. Almost every state has a Ministry of Environment. We expect all state governments to form the habit of alerting their residents about annual rainfall patterns and mobilise them to ensure minimal erosion, flooding and negative impact on farming. We should not wait until climate disasters strike before running helter-skelter.
Nigeria must take environmental issues, especially the hot-button issue of climate change, more seriously. We must go beyond mere annual rainfall advisories. Government agencies handling environmental matters need to partner closely with advocacy groups, farmers cooperatives and neighbourhood associations to continuously attend to environmental challenges to reduce the negative impact of severe or prolonged rains such as flooding, erosions crop losses and displacement of persons.
At this stage of the history of Mother Earth, we can no longer afford to handle environmental issues the way our forefathers did by focusing mainly on exploitation of nature for personal gain. All hands must be on deck in the management of the environmental and climatic matters.
The old proverb: “whatever a person sows he shall reap” is very apt when it comes to environmental and climatic matters. When you neglect your environment, the rainy season will bring flood into your home, destroy your property and render you homeless.
We must prepare for the rains long before they arrive.