Joel Oladele, Abuja
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) has expressed interest to work with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) to curb disasters.
This was disclosed when a team from the UN body recently paid a courtesy visit to the NiMet headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking on the purpose of their visit the leader of the team and Head of Office for Nigeria, Trond Jensen said he was impressed by the analysis and the work that NiMet is doing that the purpose of the visit is to continue its advocacy efforts to enhance the urgency, efficiency, and quality of humanitarian response in the north east states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
“One of the things we want to do this year together with the government Institutions that we are working with is to be better prepared for the rainy season this year,” Trond promised.
He noted that last year was a national disaster in terms of the extent and impact of the flooding, also in terms of the damage to infrastructure and emphasised that their desire is to work more closely with NiMet.
“We want to work more closely with you in terms of understanding what might happen this year, compared to last year and how we can work better, working with you in terms of preparedness, in terms of anticipatory action where your input is actually critical for us to understand how the inclement weather would impact on the humanitarian work,” he said.
Responding, the Director General of NiMet, Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu observed that both organisations have a common goal and the convergence of providing early warning for all.
He explained that NiMet has achieved a certain level of leadership role in the continent based on the provision of climate services from co-generation to effective dissemination and getting feedback within the value chain.
Prof. Matazu further revealed that based on this, NiMet provides daily weather forecast to Liberia, and Sierra Leone as part of the World Meteorological Organisation VCP programme which has been on for almost seven years to date. He disclosed that
“We are also implementing the WMO SOFF project, we are peer reviewing Liberia and Burkina Faso, Liberia we are doing that alone but with Burkina Faso we are peering with Spanish Met Service. We also want to apply for the second stage to peer review one or two other African states,” he said.
Prof. Matazu added that by doing some of these projects, NiMet has gained experience to be able to do some of its own national mandate while partnering with some Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
He said NiMet is flexible and willing to work with the UN body and assured that “if we get details of your target location and elements of interest, we can come up with some products specifically for your usage and we can get it relayed to you electronically or we can create a segment in our App, NiMet weather App that can be downloaded from the playstore.”