President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the appointments of four persons to head some key agencies in Nigeria’s aviation sector.
The approval was made public in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Sabiu Zakari.
The affected agencies are: Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, as well as the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).
Captain Fola C. Akinkuotu, who is a seasoned transport pilot, flight and aircraft maintenance engineer, airline chief executive and a trained aviation industry regulator, has been appointed the Director General of NAMA.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Abuja, and a professor of geography with specialty in Environmental Application of Remote Sensing, Sani Abubakar Mashi, becomes the Director General of NIMET.
According to the statement, Captain Abdulsalam Mohammed is the new Rector at NCAT, while Mr Akinola Olateru is the Commissioner for AIB.
Captain Mohammed is an alumnus of NCAT and a renowned civil aviation trainer and examiner with accreditation by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Civil Aviation Administration.
Mr Olateru, on his part, is an engineer of international repute, a trained air accident manager and a certified safety officer with aircraft maintenance engineering licences in Nigeria, USA and the United Kingdom.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has challenged the academic community to rise up and contribute its quota to the resolution of climate change issues.
This is expected to be achieved through research and establishment of basic weather observatories in order to increase the density of weather data collection in Nigeria.
The Director General of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, Dr Anthony Anuforom, threw the challenge during a lecture organised by the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Enugu, for the institution’s 17th Convocation ceremony.
He pledged the readiness of NIMET to collaborate and provide guidance to Nigerian universities to ensure that such observatories are set up and operated in compliance with world meteorological organization standards.
Dr Anuforom also reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to reduce the effect of climate change through scientific information dissemination and management.
Nigeria has been identified as highly vulnerable to climate change based on the maple soft climate change vulnerability index, which places the country as the 3rd most vulnerable in the world.
It is for this reason that the DG of NIMET has stressed that the issue is of serious concern and is one that requires decisive and coordinated action from all Nigerians.
The Vice Chancellor of ESUT, Professor Luke, informed the gathering that the university had in the past collaborated with NIMET in the training of students in the area of meteorology and requested the agency to consider establishing a weather/disaster risk reduction centre in the school.
The annual lecture series which attracted members of the academic community within and outside Enugu state, including a former President of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani, was aimed at stimulating the quest for lasting solutions to the challenges of climate change both locally and globally.
An unidentified driver might have lost his life while several property got submerged in flood as a heavy downpour left bitter tales for many residents of Osogbo, the Osun state capital.
The Muslim festival was going well with residents already looking forward to resuming back to their businesses when the holiday suddenly turned sour.
Some residents in areas like Testing Ground, Rasco, Oke-Onitea, Fiwasaye, Gbomi and Iludun in Osogbo have been counting their losses as the rain came down heavily for three hours, causing flood in many parts of the city.
Channels Television visited Oke-Onitea area, where residents were gathered looking at a canal in search of a middle-aged man said to be the driver of a Nissan Primera with registration number – Lagos LSD 683 DZ.
An eyewitness told us that the man insisted on driving through the already overflowing water but was swept off with his car, while the driver was yet to be found at the time of filing this report.
The story was different at Fiwasaye area. Residents were stranded as the bridge required to cross to the other side of the community had been washed off by the rain.
With many houses and stalls submerged by the rain, another eyewitness said that a woman and her daughter had been left stranded in their store because of the rain.
It took the intervention of some youths in the community and the Osun State Fire Service to rescue both the woman and her daughter.
One of the victims, Ifedunmade Ogundijo, who owns a fashion outfit and a salon, said that the rain had caused her about three million naira loss.
According to a report by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Osun state was identified as one of the flood-prone areas and the residents believe that the government should have been proactive to avert this occurrence.
While the residents count their losses, no official statement had been made by the Osun state government at the time of the report.
The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and Ministry of Environment, suggested that building emergency camps would be necessary in order to accommodate victims, should a flood disaster occur.
The Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in conjunction with trainers from the Southeast Zonal National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also conducted a capacity building workshop on Basic Skills in Search and Rescue.
At least 170 persons received training in search and rescue operations as part of the contingency plans for the predicted 2016 flooding.
Nigeria has experienced its fair share of flooding over the years and its attendant consequences. In 2012, Nigeria witnessed what has been described as the most devastating flood in its history.
Since then, the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency has been making public the flood outlook for each year.
It is expected that relevant government agencies and policy makers would be well prepared to respond adequately to the incidence of flood in their area following the release of the outlook.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued an alert to pilots and airlines following a forecast from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) that there will be occurrence of moderate to severe outbreaks of dust in the country during the harmattan period from November 2015 till March 2016.
The regulatory agency said the severe outbreaks of dust can reduce atmospheric visibility, impacting negatively on flight operations.
The agency is asking pilots and airlines to ensure that adequate weather information is obtained from NIMET prior to flight operations.
The NCAA also urged pilots to exercise maximum restraint when adverse weather is observed and ensure that flight operations are scheduled with adequate weather information to minimise delay or cancellation of flight operations.
The agency further gave the warning that all concerned must comply strictly with the laid down regulations.
Residents and indigenes of Oguta Local Government Area (LGA) living around flood prone areas have been advised to relocate to upper lands where their lives and property will be adequately secured, pending the time the ravaging flood will reduce.
The passionate appeal was issued on Monday by the Executive Secretary of the Imo State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mrs Uche Ezeonyeasi, who visited the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp set up to house some flood victims in Oguta area.
She handed over to the displaced persons additional relief materials made available by the State government.
The Imo State government, through the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) had earlier provided relief materials to the flood victims.
Mrs Ezeonyeasi, however, noted that since flood was a natural disaster that could not be averted, SEMA had already done several sensitisation for the people of the zone prior to this time.
She disclosed that no lives were lost at the moment, but several homes and farmlands were badly affected.
According to her, the relief materials are to alleviate the sufferings of the flood victims.
The Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, also visited the flood victims to sympathise with them and also promised them of the State government’s support and care.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had issued an alert that there would be flood in some particular zones in the country of which Imo State was one of them.
The National Emergency Management Agency is collaborating with the Jigawa State Government to distribute relief materials to the victims of flood disaster across the state.
27 Local Government Areas of the state were affected by the flood as over 100,000 people were displaced, while farm produce worth billions of naira were washed away.
The State Government has set up an Emergency Response Team to assess the situation for early stage intervention.
Jigawa State is among the front line states in NIMET’s prediction of worst affected states by this year’s flood disaster.
So far, according to NEMA, seven Local Government Areas of the state were affected and more devastation is expected in the future.
The State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, has expressed concern over the situation of the affected victims.
He said that his government was partnering with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to see the possibility of providing a special arrangement for the affected farmers.
Governor Badaru said that the state’s town planners have also been directed to supply a master plan for the reconstruction of affected villages.
Although, there was no loss of life from the flood, few people were said to have been injured as NEMA supplied food items, medical facilities and other equipment required during emergency situation.
Meanwhile, NEMA said that a team of experts has been assigned to liaise with the State Emergency Management Agency in re-evaluating the situation for the second stage of its emergency response relief materials for the victims.
Kogi State Government has assured residents that it has put all measures in place to protect lives and property despite the great possibility that the state may experience flooding this year, as predicted by NIMET.
The State’s Deputy Governor, who doubles as the Chairman Kogi State Flood Management Committee, Mr Yomi Awoniyi, made the announcement in his office in Lokoja, the capital of the state while briefing reporters after a flood alert message to the people of the state.
Mr Awoniyi appealed to people living along the flood prone areas to be prepared for evacuation as soon as the water level increases to 11.0m calibrated on the scale of measurement.
He urged them to listen to all warning from the government related to the expected flooding.
In 2012, flood in Kogi State rendered most people homeless, as most buildings were submerged by water.
Washed away property worth billions of Naira were said to be lost during the flooding.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), has assured Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm as it steps up surveillance to forestall flood disasters.
The Director-General of NIMET, Dr Anthony Anuforom, said that an alert by the National Security Adviser prompted the speedy establishment of a team of experts from NIMET, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency and the National Emergency Management Agency to scale up operations.
The NIMET Chief noted that although there are warnings of possible flood this year, especially in some northwestern states, the country is more prepared than before to tackle any flood disaster to prevent loss of lives and property.
Residents living around the coastal line in Delta State have been warned to relocate, to avoid being enveloped by the impending flood.
This warning is coming from the Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, who was reacting to the Federal Government flood alert that coastal states would witness flooding as a result of the gradual release of excess water from Lagdo dam in Cameroon.
Mr Otuaro said that the relocation was necessary to avoid recording high level of casualty when the flood sets in, emphasizing that the state was able to evacuate people to internally displaced person’s camps in 2012 because they yielded to the timely warning by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET.
The Deputy Governor expressed worry with the way some people erect structures on waterways and canals, thereby blocking the waters from flowing into its route.
He advised owners of public and private buildings to embark on clearing of their surroundings and gutters as a deliberate effort to promote good health.
The Deputy Governor equally called on traditional rulers and opinion leaders to assist government to enlighten their people about the impending flood and the need to keep their environment clean to avoid outbreak of diseases like malaria and cholera.
He said that government was committed to the fight against environmental degradation and anything capable of exposing the state to environmental hazard.
The National President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Benjamin Okewu, says the proposed merger of three different aviation parastatals into a single entity by the Federal Government will not work.
He explained that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is purely a regulator, while Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is a service provider that provides navigational services that will ensure that aircraft in the air are separated to prevent accident and Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) provides services for the maritime, construction, agriculture, environment and other sectors of the economy.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr Okewu said NCAA was still struggling with political interferences and that merging them with service provider would water the regulatory responsibility bestowed on it.
He emphasised that all over the world, nations that combine their regulatory agencies with one or two service aviation industry do so because most of them have small airports. “Nigeria has large airports and should not concern itself with merging agencies,” he stressed.
The Federal Government has released the white paper on the report of the presidential committee on restructuring and rationalization of Federal Government parastatals, commissions and agencies, rejecting most of the recommendations in the Steve Oronsaye report.
In the document released by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Federal Government rejected the recommendation to merge NTA, FRCN and VON.
It also rejected the recommendation to abolish the Federal Character Commission; privatization of FAAN; scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, and re-introduction of tuition fees in federal universities, among others.
The accepted recommendations include: scrapping of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission; repealing of the national salaries, income and wages commission law; scrapping of the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP; merger of Nigeria Airways Management Authority (NAMA), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET); and partial commercialization of NIPOST.
The effect of the flood disaster that ravaged about seven states of the country in 2012 is yet to wear off.
Ahead of an insistent warning by Nigeria Meteorological Agency,(NIMET) that heavy rainfall will characterize 2014, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has commenced with a workshop on flood prevention, mitigation and preparedness in order to arm the people with adequate knowledge to contain any disaster that may rise.
Harping on the need for coordination and concerted effort in disaster management, the Southeast Zonal Director of NEMA, Dr. Bandele Onimode, at a workshop in Awka, the Anambra state capital, says that it is only through proper coordination that a group of persons or people could anticipate, cope, resist and recover from the impact of a natural disaster.
In Awka, Anambra state capital, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, in collaboration with Anambra State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, have started with a sensitization workshop to equip stakeholders with a comprehensive and resource based information aimed at ensuring adequate measures are in place to deal with disasters, especially flood, when they occur so that response will be efficient, effective, prompt and timely with good results achieved.
Based on the problems encountered during the 2012 flood disaster, and efforts made to ensure that such problems and mistakes are guarded against, the Southeast Zonal Director of NEMA, Dr. Onimode said it could only be corrected through proper coordination and concerted effort of all stakeholders.
For the Executive Director of SEMA and the UNICEF chief of Field “A” office, comprehensive disaster management preparation must involve pre-positioning of things and effective coordination. The Secretary to Anambra State Government and other participants in the programme also felt enriched with the ideas shared and said they now have risk management consciousness as well as know, who does what at any time.
While NEMA and SEMA fight to ensure all stakeholders are armed with the necessary knowledge in disaster management, a clarion call is also made to all and sundry especially independent organizations to join hands with the agencies in promoting disaster risk reduction and mitigation activities.