All stakeholders should take the NiMet predictions seriously

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has given a broad outline of the quantity of rain to expect across the country this year. The authorities in the 36 states therefore have enough time to prepare adequate measures against the elements to avert another tragedy. The forecast projected that the rains may be delayed in some states, but the coastal areas would still experience flooding. Blocked drains, especially in areas where flood waters easily accumulate and generate a strong force, should be cleared, and subsequently kept free. These and other measures must be taken to minimise our individual and collective vulnerability.

The annual seasonal climate prediction report provides critical information to help guide decision-making across all sectors of the economy. “As we are all aware, weather and climate have profound effects on aviation, agriculture, maritime, blue economy, water and natural resources, energy, disaster management, and infrastructure investments,” said Festus Keyamo, minister of Aviation and Aerospace, who announced that the NiMet document has been translated into pidgin, Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba languages to promote wide uptake of information and increase access to critical climate information.

According to NiMet, there is possibility of isolated flash floods in areas that are prone to flooding and drought in some northern states where the rainy season is expected to be short. Farmers will feel the brunt of devastating consequences of both, with impact on food security and the economy. Farmers are by the report urged to adopt moisture conservation techniques to mitigate crop losses during the wet season. In the coastal areas, we advise all stakeholders to take this alert seriously because farms, roads, bridges, and homes can be submerged by rainfalls that provide significant flooding. Another important takeaway in the report is the advisory on flash floods.

 Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. They have caused untold damage in the last couple of years, especially with prolonged rainfall over several days. Therefore, we implore all the relevant authorities to prepare for the rains with great diligence. Individuals and groups living on flood plains should be evacuated or made to stay away from the potential dangers of their places of abode. 

The focus should be on prevention and pre-emptive intervention because little is gained when resources that should be put into developmental initiatives are wasted in dealing with avoidable emergencies and calamities. We must also come to terms that the perennial bloodshed between farmers and herdsmen is embedded in the struggle for pasture which is scarce during the dry season in northern parts of the country. It is this scarcity that informs the seasonal migration of herders for fodders and water for the survival of their livestock, a development that occasionally makes clashes with other land users inevitable.

Because of the primacy of farmers and herders in the economic chain of our country, what is expected of government is to put in place measures that will sustain the harmonious relationship between these two groups and avoid needless bloodshed. Another challenge which stakeholders should reflect upon concerns reducing the alarming post-harvest losses in the agricultural sector. These losses that traditionally occur during the peak of the rainy season are detrimental to the country’s economy.

It is one thing to have bumper harvest during the rainy season, but it is another thing to have the capacity to preserve the harvest for immediate gains of the farmers during the high demand for food in the dry season. Nigerians should therefore take seriously the metrological information from NiMet to avert recurring disasters.

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