From Uche Usim, Abuja
Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika on Tuesday warned northern states that will be hit by severe dry spells to stick to the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) in their farming and other ventures this year to avoid unpalatable consequences.
Sirika, who made the disclosure in Abuja at the 2021 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) launch also said an app had been developed for all to access weather information.
He listed parts of Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Yobe and Borno States as those to experience severe dry spells.
According to him, the theme for this year’s SCP; “Supporting the Economy to Cope with the Challenge of COVID-19 in Nigeria” was apt considering the fact that last year was most challenging due to the rampaging pandemic.
He noted that aviation was the most affected till date.
Sirika said: ‘A severe dry spell is predicted over (Arewa Dandi, Birnin Kebbi, Argungu, Augie) Kebbi, (Illela, Gada, Tangaza, Gudu, Sabon Birni) Sokoto, (Shinkafi, Birnin Magaji, Maradun, Zurmi) Zamfara, (Kaita, Mashi, Mai’Adua, Katsina, Dutsi, Daura, Baure, Zango) Katsina, (Gwiwa, Yankwashi, Gumel, Birniwa, Sule-Tankarkar, Guri, Kiri Kasama)Jigawa, (Machina, Nguru, Yusufari, Yunusari, Karasuwa, Barde, Jakusko, Geidam) Yobe and (Abadam, Mobbar, Kukawa, Guzamala, Gubio, Nganzai, Monguno) Borno state in the months of June and July which may last between 2-3 weeks after the Onset.
‘Farmers should adopt soil-moisture conservation techniques to reduce the chances of crop failure during this period.’
On flash floods, he said: ‘The normal to above normal rainfall pattern in the country will lead to the possibility of isolated flash floods due to increasing high-intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in areas that are naturally prone to flooding”.
On the 2021 onset of the planting/growing season, the minister said it was predicted to be normal to earlier than normal in most parts of the country.
He added that the earliest onset date was likely to occur on March 1 along the coastal line of the country while the latest date is anticipated to be around June 29 in the northernmost parts of the country.
‘However, later-than-normal onset dates are expected over a few places such as parts of Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi and Niger states
‘On cessation, the earliest cessation date is around 9th October 2021, is expected around Katsina and the northern parts of Sokoto while the latest cessation date is expected on the 25th December 2021 over the Niger-Delta region. Generally, Cessation dates are predicted to be relatively normal in most places except for a few places where cessation dates are expected to be a little earlier or later than normal.
‘The length of the 2021 growing season is expected to span between 110 days in the extreme north and over 300 days in the south. Most places are expected to have their usual length of season, however, a few places such as Lagos and the FCT are likely to have a shorter length of season, differing by a few days (about 5 – 14 days),’ he revealed.
On rainfall amount, Sirika noted that a normal to above-normal annual rainfall amount is expected for most parts of the country. However, below-normal rainfall totals are expected over a few places in the North-western parts of the country such as Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kano states.
‘Pre-onset rainfall (false onset): Before the full establishment of the onset of the planting season over the various ecological zones, a couple of rainfall events are expected to occur which could be enormous and tend to give a false start of the season. Such rainfall events are not uncommon, however, their frequency seems to be on the rise. Some forcing functions have been observed to be likely responsible and will be monitored carefully and keep Nigerians informed. Farmers should therefore avoid early planting during this period to avoid losses.
‘Day and nighttime temperatures for the months of January to April are usually forecast annually so as to take into cognizance the effects at these times which represent the coldest and warmest periods of the year. In the 2021 forecast, greater parts of the country are expected to record normal to colder than normal temperatures,’ he stated.
Also speaking at the event, Abubakar Mashi, the Director-General of NIMET said that the SCP was a yearly practice that has taken place for about 10 years and aimed to provide information on weather for a broad spectrum of stakeholders like. aviation, Water Resources Ministry, sports, marine etc.
Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak in his remarks commended NIMET for providing weather information at the sub-national level, saying it has remained useful.
Smart Adeyemi, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation and representative of the Senate President harped on support for NIMET since its functions touch all facets of the economy. He lampooned various ministers for not being at the meeting or sending their Permanent Secretaries.
‘It’s rascality not to be here where issues of predictions of weather. It’s a serious matter,’ he stated.