Dr. Anthony Anuforom is the Director-General of Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET). He urges Nigerians to always pay attention to issues of climate change to avoid falling victims. Excerpts:
NIMET predicted the flood disaster that was witnessed recently. Are you not worried that despite your alert, little or nothing was done to reduce the effect?
NIMET is an agency of government set up to advise the Federal Government and the Nigerian public on all issues of weather and climate. Now, that prediction we gave was in furtherance of the mandate the Federal Government has given us to do and that is what the government should do. I keep saying that flood has come and gone, we cannot keep belabouring the fact that we warned people. I think we have to move away from there to, what then do we do in future to ensure that it does not occur in future and even if it does occur again that we are well prepared to adapt, to reduce the impact, to reduce our vulnerability. That is what we should be talking about.
Nigeria and other sub Saharan -African countries are said to experience hot weather this and next years. Can you throw more light on this?
Well, it is a global trend, I would advise you read the lecture booklet very carefully, we raised all these issues. About next year, we are still doing our prediction for next year that is the one that is specific to Nigeria. That we are doing and we are looking at rolling it out to the Nigerian public by early February.
In what way can wind share contribute to air accident and what effort is your agency doing to avert that?
Wind shear and other atmospheric phenomena contribute up to 30 percent if not 35 percent to aviation accidents and its deaths worldwide. This is global statistics, and that is why the Nigerian government has been equipping NIMET to sharpen its capacity to observe weather.
Now you talk about wind shear in particular and I think it is good news for me to let you know that so far, we have Wind shear alert system in all the four international airports, namely Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and Port-Harcourt.
Now this year we are also installing it as we are talking, we are installing in Yola and Benin, in fact we just concluded the factory acceptance test for Yola just a few days ago and as we speak work is on going to get it in Owerri airport, Enugu airport and Sokoto airport.
Within 2013, federal government has made a budget proposal that is now undergoing the normal process in the national assembly for us to be able to do more wind shear alert systems in more airports. So this is an assurance that our airspace is safe, that the Nigerian government is doing what it should do, the government is alive to its responsibilities but take it or leave it, these are natural phenomena, we cannot play God, anytime we announce these prediction, the first thing I tell people is that we cannot pretend to be God. It is only God that is all knowing.
We can go as far as available human knowledge can take us and you know human knowledge is limited but be that as it may to a very good extent, government is doing what it could to make our airspace safe. Of course safety in the airspace has two dimensions; it has the dimension of CNS, (communication, navigation and surveillance) which is what a sister agency called NAMA does. The other dimension is the weather dimension.
How do you think Nigerians can mitigate the global warming?
The first step is to pay attention to weather information that is given, that is the very first step, don't take it lightly that ah, I have lived here since I was born 30 years ago, what you are saying hasn't happened, so this year it will not happen. That is a very dangerous thing to do, in other words you must pay attention to these information.