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By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Director-General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) says the current extreme weather conditions currently being experienced in the country will persist through the year.
Prof. Sani Mashi disclosed this during the 2019 World Meteorological Day celebration with the theme, ‘the Sun, the Earth and the Weather’, on Saturday in Abuja.
NAN reports that March 23, is set aside every year to commemorate the anniversary of the convention establishing World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in 1950.
He said that 2018 was one of the hottest years ever witnessed in globally, adding that the condition had continued into 2019.
Mashi said 2019 has continued where 2018 left off with extreme weather, which has claimed lives and destroyed livelihoods.
“On this note, it is very clear that our environment is in serious challenge of extreme weather events as a result of climate change which is seen as the single most prominent risk.
“As such, 2018 was found to be one of the four warmest years without an El Nino.
“2019 as an El Nino year, has already began with pockets of extreme events in form of severe storms currently ravaging Mozambique and parts of Australia.
“The World Economic Forum identified weather extremes, natural disasters, the failure of climate change adaptation, mitigation and water crisis as the highest four global risks in 2018 and cost of natural catastrophes are escalating.
“However, NiMet is positioned to continue to meet our weather and climate challenges in 2019 and beyond,’’ he said.
Mashi said that NiMet had continued to produce and issue out drought and flood prospects bulletin and other early warning information to warn the public on the possible socio economic implications of the projected weather patterns.
He added that the agency had in the last two years, invested in the establishment and upgrading of meteorological observatories to increase the density of stations to enhance data generation for improved service delivery.
According to him, NiMet has so far established additional 63 weather stations across Nigerian universities and higher institutions while targeting to install additional 100 within the year.
Earlier, Mr Bernard Gomez, WMO’s Representative for North, Central and West Africa, commended the government of Nigeria and NiMet for their support for the organisation and services to humanity.
Gomez said that climate change had led to an increase in extreme weather conditions at local levels as well as at national and global levels which according to him, may still become intense later in the year.
He said that human kind had continued to strive on this planet because they had been able to adapt to the climate.
“The climate is changing very fast and this as usual is not good and we need to show greater commitment and invest more resources towards observing, monitoring and forecasting the climate system in order to provide early warning services to communities.
“It is however gratifying to note that NiMet is fully committed and properly positioned to provide quality information on the weather, climate and other environmental variables both within and outside of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I wish to therefore express my deep gratitude to the country on behalf of the WMO, the officials of NiMet for their several contributions to this nation and to the world at large,’’ he said
Also, Mr Bako Wakil, Director, Technical Standard and Network Integrity, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), said that NCC recognised the role of NiMet in providing critical information to saving lives.
Wakil, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbata, Commended NiMet for its timely weather information to farmers and other sectors of the economy
He said there are over 170 million active mobile subscribers in this country and over 100 internet subscribers and over 38 per cent of our population has access to broadband as well.
“It is very important and critical for those information that are coming out of NiMet to reach Nigerians in a very quick and timely manner and that also recognised the need for partnership and collaboration between NCC and NiMet.
“The NCC will be at your service and will provide all the necessary support and cooperation to see that Nigerians get this information as timely as quickly as possible,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the celebration of the 2019 WMD by NiMet also featured a quiz competition by some selected secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory.
Among the six schools that participated in the competition, Bloom Academy, Sun City, came first, while Anglican Girls Grammar School came second and Government Secondary School Gwagwalada came third. (NAN)