Nigeria: Govt Moves to End Malpractices in Meteorology, Port Infrastructure

16 August 2019

Following alleged malpractices by international oil companies (IOCs), due to lack of meteorology equipment for adequate weather forecast, poor maritime infrastructure, the federal government has commenced moves to end the trend, THISDAY findings have revealed.

Some maritime experts believe malpractices and neglects undermine government's security services in the maritime sector as well as affect government's revenue generation.

THISDAY checks revealed that the inability of Nigeria to have accurate weather forecast has led to damages to vessels as a result of frequent seaswells (violent waves), a situation that forces IOCs to do forecast abroad.

Competent sources told THISDAY that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was collaborating with the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) to provide accurate weather forecast for safe navigation.

The source, who did not want his name in print, said the partnership started in 2017.

Also, source close to the office of the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed by both agencies in this regard.

The source told THISDAY that the collaboration between NPA and NIMET would see the establishment of some coastal meteorological stations across the country.

It was also gathered that both agencies had been meeting towards enhancing Nigeria weather forecast to users of meteorological information.

Recently, due to inaccurate meteorological data some vessels like 'M.T Nwobisa' were washed ashore in the Niger Delta region.

However, spokesman of the National Airspace Research Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Felix Ale, said the agency has the capability to provide accurate weather forecast for use by any agency in Nigeria.

Ale, said weather reports were sent to relevant government agencies as frequently as possible, adding that there was no need for officials of government to go abroad for this purpose.

He explained that most times, officials of government engaged foreign companies to source meteorological information for Nigeria and these foreign firms get these information from NASRDA and sell to these officials of government.

According to him, "Officials of government agencies go abroad to engage foreign companies to source meteorological reports on Nigeria. These foreign firms in turn come to NASRDA to source this information and sell to these officials. Some of these officials do this because of the foreign exchange they get when they travel abroad. They should stop this idea of running abroad for satellite data information when these data are available in Nigeria."

THISDAY also learnt that NARSDA has entered into a joint venture(JV) with Atlantic Factorial to provide high resolution image of activities on the waters.

Confirming the JV, Managing Director of Atlantic Factorial, Mr. Leke Oyewole, said that massive leakages had been observed in the maritime sector occasioned by inadequate surveillance of the maritime domain, He added that NPA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), were are not paid revenues due to them because of these trade infractions.

He said most of the IOCs sourced meteorological data from abroad and deducts the cost of sourcing this information from their operating cost before declaring profit to the federal government.

"We currently boast of the largest constellation of satellites (240 +), belonging to our partners and over 100 ground stations globally. Our capability cuts across sub-meter resolution imagery of any location on the planet (72cm not surpassed by any other company worldwide), maritime, aviation, meteorology and radio frequency analytics.

"In recent years, the need to monitor our highways, bushes, remote communities, towns and cities has come to the fore. We can provide for the government, daily surveillance reports detailed by radio frequency communications and high-resolution imagery with short videos of suspected locations within the entire expanse of Nigeria for security action.

"Similarly, we have observed massive leakages in the maritime sector occasioned inadequate surveillance of the maritime domain; Mother ships that import petroleum products to Nigeria with official foreign exchange, either import through neighbouring countries or when they come to Nigeria, NPA / NIMASA are not paid revenues due to them because these ships don't get to the ports by reason of their size," he said.

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