The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has disowned the Nigerian Lightning Safety and Research Centre (NLSRC) over a lightning forecast issued in a publication by the research centre.
The NLSRC, a Non-Governmental Organisation registered in the USA with focus on lightning Safety education and awareness, had on April 15, issued a warning that 2.9 million strikes are expected in Nigeria in May.
The organisation, which highlighted some states with high risk of the lightning to include; Taraba, Ebonyi, Cross River, Delta, Imo, Abia among others, urged Nigerians to stay indoors if they hear any thunder.
NiMet, in a statement issued by its General M anager in charge of public relations, Muntari Yusuf Ibrahim, discredited the forecast, adding “that at no time did it authorise NLSRC to issue any such weather forecast to the public, as this is the statutory function of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.”
According to the agency, “NiMet is statutorily mandated under Sections 7 (1) (a) and (i) of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Establishment Act, 2022 (NiMet Act), to advise the Federal Government on all aspects of meteorology and to collect, process and disseminate all meteorological data and information within and outside Nigeria. NiMet is also the sole authority to prescribe and issue the meteorological data and information required for all sectoral activities in Nigeria (Section 7(2)).”
While urging the public to disregard weather information from the NLSRC and any other aside NiMet, it, however stated that subject to the above provision, “any person who collects, uses or disseminates weather forecast or any other meteorological information obtained from any other source outside the approval, licence or authority of the Agency for commercial or public purpose, commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine or a term of imprisonment or both (Section 30 (2) of the NiMet Act).”
But in a swift reaction, NLSRC admitted that it did not get approval from NiMet before issuing the weather forecast, adding however that, it “did not intend to compete with NiMet or any other government agency responsible for weather forecast and dissemination of meteorological data and information.”
According to the statement signed by its founder, Michael Adebayo Omidiora, a professor, the centre did not solicit for fund from any Nigerians.
Meanwhile, A multi-product insurance company on Monday advised Nigerians to prepare comprehensively to mitigate the vagaries of weather conditions in 2023. The Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET) has predicted heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and heavy flooding in its weather forecast for 2023.
Managing Director of the insurance company, Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale, said in a statement it issued in Lagos that stakeholders must prepare proactively for eventualities that would trail the weather forecast.
“NiMET in its forecast published in January stated that 2023 would witness early onset of rainfall accompanied by flooding. Starting in March, coastal areas in the South-South, particularly Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers, will experience torrential rains.
“Southern inland cities will experience precipitation in April, while central states will experience heavy rains in May. NIMET also predicted extended rainfall in Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu, Anambra, Ogun, and Lagos states.
“Between June and July, the northern states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno would experience the beginning of rain, which will be at its peak between July and September,’’ he noted.
Hassan-Odukale stated that agriculture business investors, business owners, property and asset managers, families and individuals, must proactively take action to mitigate the devastating human and material losses that could arise from the oncoming floods.
“With the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report that Nigeria’s food inflation rate peaked at 24.35 per cent in February, there is an urgent need to prioritise food security.
“There is also the urgent need to protect the enormous investments already made into agriculture,’’ he added. He said the company had designed insurance policies to help flood victims to recover from massive financial losses, which experts had estimated at more than N4.2 trillion.
Hassan-Odukale noted that the agriculture, which contributed 26.97 per cent to GDP in 2022, was the most vulnerable sector to flood. He observed also that the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, had estimated that agriculture lost about N700 billion to floods in 2022.
He said also that the construction and property sectors were also vulnerable to flooding in 2023, noting that the NBS had reported that they contributed about N20 trillion to the GDP in the first three quarters of 2022.
The 2022 floods resulted in 662 deaths in 33 states and the ruination of agricultural investments and other properties estimated at trillions of naira. The Federal Government estimated that more than two million Nigerians were displaced, while the national economy lost more than N4.2 trillion to the 2022 floods.
The 2023 weather forecast paints a bleak picture, against the backdrop of prevailing global inflation and economic vulnerabilities and uncertainties.
released on bail as the due legal process was not followed properly. The mother did not have the financial means to continue the legal case.
Eunice Lakaraber Latim, legal counsel for NGO Caritas, explained how poverty and corruption have led to an increase in such cases: “Growing up from Gulu, I saw so many children getting defiled, and most of those parents did not have the resources to pursue the justice that their children deserved.” She added: “You have to literally pay your way to get justice. You have to pay money for fuel to have the suspect apprehended.”
BBC Africa Eye also obtained an exclusive interview with Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, who acknowledged wider challenges within the justice system. “I can’t deny corruption…It’s at all levels. We have laws on defilement, we have laws on incest, but somehow again, people just go behind the law and bribe police.” On the level of cases prosecuted she added: “There are cases which have been prosecuted, but the number is not high. From the cases which were reported, only six per cent reached court.”
The Regional Police Commander Nachula Damalie denied police corruption but admitted that there were problems in how some cases are dealt with. In northern Uganda, the violent 20 -year conflict is a critical context.
The BBC spoke to Pamela Angwech, director of Gulu Women’s Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G), to understand how the post conflict legacy left by Joseph Kony and the LRA have fuelled sexual abuse and gender-based violence. She explains how the LRA used sexual abuse as “a military strategy”.
“I describe it as the war was fought in the body of the woman and the woman became the battlefield.” Pamela added: “Living within a toxic, minefield environment had long term effects on the community. People are used to seeing death. People begin to think that sexual and gender-based abuse seems to not be the highest level of abuse.”
GWED-G, have trained over 1, 000 men with violent pasts, to help change the way women are treated within the community. The organisation has also trained young women born in captivity to develop skills to enable them to earn a living. One of the beneficiaries of this programme, Eunice, learned to bake, which has helped her support her own baby.
Reflecting on his time in Gulu, Paul Bakibinga said: “It’s over 15 years ago that the LRA were formally driven out of northern Uganda. But the aftereffects of the 20-year-long insurgency continue to ripple through this society. The stories that I’ve heard from these women are heart breaking.”