Sirika: How political class, experts synergy helped meteorological development in Nigeria

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika has stated that one practice that has enabled meteorological development in Nigeria was the strong synergy and support between the political class which he represents and the experts represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) headed by Prof. Mansur Matazu.

Sirika, who spoke during the 76th session of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) held at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland recently said the country strives to ensure it has the right leadership at the helm of affairs of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), stressing that the agency under the leadership of Prof. Mansur had also demonstrated commitment to excellence by judicious utilisation of resources, broad stakeholders’ engagements, and result-oriented goals with clearly detailed regular reporting.

Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika

The Minister highlighted that during his time as minister, NiMet had grown in size, visibility, and relevance, not only in Nigeria but in the region and indeed globally.

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He noted that new products had been introduced by the agency. These he noted include Seasonal Climate Prediction (including its Summary for Policy Makers and translated version), the state of the climate in Nigeria, climate and health bulletin, hydrometeorological bulletin, agrometeorological bulletin, extreme weather events bulletin, marine meteorological bulletin, three-day impact-based forecast and many more on different timescales and validity.

These products and many more according to the Minister have tailored services that have generated lots of interest within the nation up to the Presidency that culminated in the President personally commissioning a National Meteorological Institute of Science and Technology in his home State and in his honour.

He further disclosed that there was increased inter-agency synergy along the climate services value chain, bringing together the meteorological, hydrological, disaster management, and all responders together as they developed and practiced a multi-hazard early warning system for all Nigerians.

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According to him, NiMet forecasts provide the basis for the annual flood outlook and disaster preparedness in Nigeria by both the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency and the National Emergency Management Agency (who are both in two separate Ministries of Government).

According to Sirika, “The agency has provided interventions in Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Malawi in terms of capacity building, technical assistance, quality management systems, and competency framework. We have successfully hosted, provided leadership, and participated in regional climate outlook forums”.

“Nigeria was recently part of and led the Country Hydromet Diagnostic (CHD) in Liberia and Sierra Leone. We hosted a study visit by both the National Meteorological Services of the Republic of Niger and The Gambia. We provided hosting support for the WMO HydroSOS initiative and earnestly worked to take the initiative to the implementation phase, and just on Tuesday, we are part of the SOFF Initiative as well”.

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All these are signs the Minister said show that can be gotten right with strong commitment and political support in our, “NMHSs.”

“We have also encouraged NiMet in pursuing PPE. This is exactly what we are doing at the Ministry of Aviation. Clearly, government funding will never be enough.”

He called on the WMO to intensify efforts in encouraging cooperation among Members and assist in bridging the existing gap between the political class and the experts on the field.

He expressed his appreciation to the WMO Secretary General, Professor Petteri Taalas, whom he said had shown tremendous support to the development of meteorology globally, in Africa, and specifically in Nigeria.

Wole Shadare