The Director-General (DG), Nigerian Metrological Agency, Prof. Mansur Matazu, said that the newly-inaugurated weather stations in Plateau would positively impact all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Matazu, who was represented by HydroMet’s General Manager, Mr Daniel Okafor, expressed the confidence at the inauguration of the weather stations on Tuesday in Jos.
According to the DG, the stations will add to the data NiMET gathers for the nation in order to get tailored information and pieces of advice that will help policy makers in taking informed decisions.
“It is also to aid different sectors of the economy that are weather dependent on making their plans towards doing whatever they want to do in their sector.
“There is no sector of the economy that doesn’t depend on weather.
“The weather we are in which is a global phenomenon: we are talking about climate change, rise in temperature, the amount of rainfall we used to have; in some places it is near to nothing, in other places it is too much.
“With these kinds of stations and several others located in different coordinates in the country, we will be able to monitor and forecast the total amount of rainfall that is expected in different regions.
“It would enable the farmers (agricultural sector) to know the planting season, the duration of the rainfall, kinds of crops to plant, the period of maturity and the rest.
“In the aviation sector, without weather information the pilot cannot fly because he needs to know the weather from where he is leaving to where he is going,” he added.
According to him, the weather stations in the country are grossly inadequate.
Matazu said that going by World Metrological Organisation’s (WMO) standard, the weather stations should be at the minimum 100 kilometers apart.
Dr Salisu Dahiru, National Project Coordinator, National Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), noted that the stations usually brought essential aspects of learning to the institutions where they were located.
Dahiru, represented NEWMAP’s Water Specialist, Mr Ayuba Anda, stated that students who would be in the field after graduation needed to have good knowledge of the role weather played in agriculture and other human endeavours.
“For the institution as a centre of learning, the lecturers have a dire need for more knowledge of modern weather equipment and their utilisation to enable them to teach the students better.
“They will get data to show the students how these data would be used, archived, analysed and transmitted into reasonable information that would be meaningful for planning and development,” he said.
He stated that the equipment in stations were tested and guaranteed to have long lifespan, and, however, added that “for it to be sustained, it requires simple maintenance culture.”
He gave such maintenance culture as cleaning the environment, dusting the solar panels and checking the battery terminals at all times.
He said they would “ensure that there is enough current that would be running the station in order to bring out the data as required.”
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State who inaugurated the stations, also said that it would impact on the lives of the institutions as well as other Nigerians.
The governor, who was represented by Mr Yakubu Idi, the Commisioner for Environment, said that as a government, it was aware of the challenges that might accompany the establishment of the stations.
‘As we encourage the institutions to put up sustainability plans, the state government through the NEWMAP is going to draw another sustainability plan as an alternative.
“In the event that the institution fails, we can fall back on that of the state government.
“I am happy that while NEWMAP is winding up, we have the ACRISAL coming on board to continue from where NEWMAP stopped.
“The ACRISAL also have a component of climate change as well as weather focus and I believe the establishment of weather stations is equally embedded in it,” he said.
The three weather stations are situated in University of Jos (Plateau North), Federal College of Education Pankshin (Plateau Central) and College of Agriculture Garkawa (Plateau south).
The equipment in each of the stations include: wind vane, anemometer, soil sensor, thermometer, pyranometer (measuring sunshine) instrument to measure relative humidity as well as instrument to measure radiation.
Chief executives of the institutions commended NEWMAP and other stakeholders for situating the stations in their schools and promised to secure and maintain the stations for optimum use.