Nigeria has yet achieved another milestone with the graduation of Gambian trainees by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), recently.
This is just as the federal government has announced that through NiMet it will continue to support Gambia and other needy nations in the training of meteorological technicians to highlight the importance attached to the contribution of meteorology to sustainable socioeconomic development, as well as safety of citizens.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, stated this at the inaugural graduation ceremony of middle level meteorological technicians trained by the Agency, held in Banjul, Gambia.
He noted that “Aviation is a serious business with critical safety requirements and socioeconomic impacts. Hence, personnel working on this Sector must be highly skilled and competent.”
Sirika said that one of the instruments of the partnership was through the World Meteorological Organisation (W.M.O.) Regional Training Centres and affiliated training institutes which W.M.O. encouraged member countries to close the gap through increased cooperation and collective partnership such as the ongoing one between Nigeria and Gambia.
He disclosed that Nimet has done this due to huge support from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Aviation via robust budgetary provisions.
The Minister explained that most of the operational funding for the Agency was derived from allocation from the contributory service basket provided to the Aviation Industry by the agencies under the Ministry.
Sirika gave kudos to W.M.O. for championing and supporting countries to effectively engage in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
He said: “This is because the future of service provision and user interface should effectively move from a linear type of value chain to an interactive environment where systems, data, solutions, and end users are iteratively engaged, and users are contributing significantly to information management and weather and climate service-level products.
“These will contribute to capabilities towards meeting global targets of the sustainable development goals.”
“This vision is realisable where regular meetings with vulnerable sectors to promote interaction and strengthen the provision and utilisation of meteorological services exist.
“As a strategy to further strengthen the expansion of weather and climate services to vulnerable sectors and the user community, NiMet therefore realises that partnerships and engagement with the private sector cannot be overemphasised.”
The Minister added that the Nigerian Government has the appropriate legal framework that enables the NiMet to participate in collaborative and effective Public-Private-Engagements (PPEs).
“In the phase of dwindling revenue by governments worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of PPE cannot be overemphasised.
“Once trust has been established with appropriate legal document such as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is clear on the role of individual parties and sharing formula of all expected benefits, PPE is the way to go. This is another area; Nigeria can be of help,” Sirika explained further.
He equally commended the Government of The Gambia for taking the initiative to conceive the concept that led to the graduation ceremony and the Gambian Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources for making excellent arrangements to ensure the success of the capacity development initiative.
“The presence of dignitaries here today is a testament to the critical value of the training programme and its impacts on the people and the developmental process in The Gambia. This goes to highlight the importance attached to contributions of meteorology to sustainable socio-economic development, as well as safety of citizens of this great Country,” he stated.
On his part, the Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources, Gambia, James Furmus Peter Gomez, commended the Federal Government of Nigeria, saying the training partnership will further strengthen the cordial and fruitful bi-lateral ties that exists between the Department of Water Resources and NiMet and by extension the two countries.
“The challenge of improving the resilience of communities to climate vulnerabilities, risks and disasters is a key element in the strategies and solutions envisioned by the Government of The Gambia, as stated in the National Development Plan (NDP) as well as in both the Agriculture & Natural Resources and National Climate Change Policies.
“While the answer seems to be the existence of dedicated structures with an organisational system, the provision of adapted sectoral services to cope with extreme weather and climate risks is becoming increasingly important,” Gomez noted.
He added that the Gambia authority noted the efforts Nigeria was making towards the capacity development of its personnel in fundamental aspects of meteorological observations and forecasting, as well as quality management system, all geared towards meeting the standard set by WMO and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).