Today, Tuesday, February 15, 2022, at the NAF Conference Centre, Kado Abuja, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) will release the 2022 annual Seasonal Climate Predictions (SCP) for Nigeria. It used to be called Seasonal Rainfall Predictions (SRP) but truly SCP better describes the information contained in the predictions.
It tell us for instance how much rain to expect for the year, when the rain will start for various parts of the country, when it will end, the dry spells, the intensity, the average temperature for different parts of the country, the average humidity etc. It also tells us the implication of each scenario for instance whether there would be flooding, heat stroke, drought, wind storms etc. No be juju o, no be playing god o….na science backed by faith.
NiMet go steps further by issuing advisories to various sectors of the economy based on these predictions. Advisory for the aviation sector (which is updated every 15 minutes or less), the health sector, the transportation sector, the water sector, construction sector, the power sector among others.
Perhaps the most critical of their advisories is to the agriculture sector through their agro-meteorology services. As the wise saying goes, “rationality ends, where hunger begins”. Without food, no body is a gentleman because hunger brings out the beast in us all.
This underscores the importance of food to every human and to the security and orderliness of society. This is why the NiMet’s agro-meteorology information services is critical to national development and to the well being of all citizens. Nigeria’s agriculture is climate dependent and yet the sector is the largest employer of citizens and the basis for Industrialisation of any society.
Truth be told, Nigeria needs to diversify her economy very fast as the Fossil Fuel economy we mainly depend on shall soon become extinct. Access to accurate, timely and relevant Climate Information is a human rights need, not only for the small holder women, men and youth farmers who by the way are responsible for over 80% of food consumed in Nigeria, it is a human right need also for you and I who need good, nutritious, affordable and accessible food at all times.
Access to Climate Information is also about climate justice. It is one of the ways to protect millions of people whose livelihoods and culture and shelter are threatened by the vagaries of changing climate.
On behalf of the Borad of Trustees, Management and Staff of HEDA Resource Centre, as well as on behalf of our thousands of partner farmers across the length and breath of Nigeria therefore, I wish to congratulate NiMet on this auspicious occasion. I wish to reiterate our collective objective of getting timely and reliable climate information to all farmers and communities most hard to reach.
We at HEDA are delighted to be part of the Power of Voices Partnership African Activists for Climate Change project supported by the Pan Africa Climate Justics Alliance (PACJA) and Oxfam through funding from the Netherlands Foreign Affairs Ministry.
We call on all duty bearers in the climate information value chain to step up to the plate and do their respective bits in ensuring that these information gets to the farmers and are also appropriately adapted in planning for the agriculture sector in their respective states and local government areas. We need our states and local governments to take action based on the climate information from the SCP released today.
Besides, NiMet also provides updated climate predictions at more frequent intervals as required by farmers. We urge the federal and states governments to deploy their state owned media infrastructure to ensure that this climate information services and the SCP is broadcasted in local dialects in every nook and cranny of Nigeria.
May the harvest be bumper for us this year, and may good showers from above wash away all the evil and iniquities that plague our dear country Nigeria.
By Arigbabu Sulaimon (Executive Secretary, HEDA Resource Centre)