By Maxwell Itakpe
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Michael Okpara University, Umudike, Abia on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment and formal take off of a weather station at the University.
The Director General of NiMet, Prof. Mansur Bako, at the instance of the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Prof. Iwe Maduebibisi Ofo, said NiMet is looking forward to more fruitful collaboration with the University in the area of research, staff training and capacity building.
Prof. Bako, acknowledged that the agency is saddled with the mandate for the provision of weather services to all sectors of the economy, to advise government and MDAs at different strata at state and local government levels on weather and climate information for policy and decision making, product generation services.
More importantly, Prof. Bako, the services remain valuable in the agriculture sector which is rainfall and weather dependent, stressing that NiMet is doing a lot of products and services in agriculture which are usually issued periodically in our bulletin.
He said: “We do short rain forecast of daily and do medium range forecast for 3 days and 7 days or 2 weeks and at seasonal level we issue out Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) which is done in collaboration with Universities.
He acknowledged that part of the agency’s mandate is also to promote research in weather and climate, explaining that that was the wisdom of the former DG in the facilitation of weather stations in 113 higher institutions in Nigeria with more than 80 Universities benefitting.
The DG, said he sees the MoU as part of its mandate even as he said that the agency will be decentralizing access to data as it will help the country more so when more weather stations like the one that is being signed comes on board.
He said: “This is the first level of our intervention; the second layer is that we are going to upgrade the weather stations to WMO standards and to be operating at synoptic level and so we want to do the upgrade in the second batch and also to begin to exchange data and also to begin to collaborate with research centres.
“I’m of the opinion that Michael Opara University has very interesting courses because some of our staff attend your university and so we have so many things in especially in weather forecasting and applied meteorological services.”
Prof. Bako, said the signing of the MoU will be the beginning of better things to come as NiMet has signed more than 15 MoUs with federal universities, adding: “Our prayer is that out of this 15 even if we have 10 MoUs that we can really pursue to logical conclusion we can then begin to churn out research outcomes and I’m sure that you will be part of this because we have seen the energy that you are bringing to the table.
In his remark, Prof. Ofo, expressed appreciation for the consummation of the MoU, adding: “We are grateful for this gesture as it will help us in the overall interest of Nigerians as far as meteorology and its components are concerned.
“We need good weather station because we are located in the rainforest zone of Nigeria where ordinarily rainfall cannot be predicted but with meteorology as we are being introduced to the establishment, we will be able to know what to do in handling our agricultural practices in the good interest of the people of South-east and South-south and the overall interest of Nigeria.
“We want to say thank you for receiving us, and we believe that this will lead to better things for Nigeria and in the future for the service of our fatherland.”