THE Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has tackled a non-governmental organisation, Nigerian Lightning Safety and Research Center (NLSRC), over a lightning advisory issued by the latter.
In a statement released on Monday, April 24, NiMet dissociated itself from an advisory purportedly issued by the NLSRC in which the organisation alerted Nigerians of the possibility of lightning strikes across the country in May 2023.
In the statement titled ‘Disclaimer’, signed by General Manager Public Relations, NiMet, Muntari Yusuf Ibrahim, the agency said it did not permit NLSRC to provide any such weather forecasts to the public.
NiMet stressed that it was not accountable or liable in any way for any consequences brought on by relying on or acting on weather information provided by NLSRC or any meteorological information obtained from any source not approved by the agency.
“It has come to the notice of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) that there is a publication purportedly issued by the Nigerian Lightning Safety and Research Center (NLSRC) to the Nigerian Public, alerting them to the possibility of lightning strikes across Nigeria in May 2023.
“NiMet wishes to inform the Public that at no time did it authorise NLSRC to issue any such weather forecast to the Public, as this is the statutory function of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.
“NiMet is statutorily mandated under Sections 7 (1) (a) and (i) of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Establishment Act, 2022 (NiMet Act), to advise the Federal Government on all aspects of meteorology and to collect, process and disseminate all meteorological data and information within and outside Nigeria.
“NiMet is also the sole authority to prescribe and issue the meteorological data and information required for all sectoral activities in Nigeria (Section 7(2)).
“Further to the above-stated provisions, any person who collects, uses or disseminates weather forecast or any other meteorological information obtained from any other source outside the approval, licence or authority of the Agency for a commercial or Public purpose commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine or a term of imprisonment or both (Section 30 (2) of the NiMet Act),” NiMet stated.
NiMet further warned the public to disregard the material released by the NLSRC completely.
In its reaction, NLSRC acknowledged that it had not sought NiMet’s permission before publishing the weather forecast.
In a statement released by Michael Adebayo Omidiora, NLSRC also stated that it did not intend to compete with NiMet or any other government agency responsible for weather forecast and dissemination of meteorological data and information.
The NLSRC, a a non-governmental organisation registered in the United States focusing on lightning safety education and awareness, had on April 15 said about 2.9 million lightning incidents are expected to accompany rainfall in May.
The centre advised Nigerians to be careful when moving around and engaging in activities outside during the rainy season.
It cautioned members of the public to safeguard their appliances and electronic devices, saying that some states would experience more powerful cases of lightning.
The states mentioned include Enugu, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Edo, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Anambra, Osun, Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Enugu, Cross River and FCT.
The centre advised Nigerians to be ready for potential fatalities and fire outbreaks, noting that the listed states were more likely to experience catastrophic lightning strikes and flooding.