Vandalisation Of Safety Equipment At Airports Our Major Challenge —Matazu, NiMET DG
…Says NiMET Has Invested Hugely In Upgrading Numerical Weather Prediction Department
… Provides Services For Liberia,Sierra Leone
The Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET), Prof. Mansur Matazu has said that the greatest challenge of the agency is the vandalisation of agency’s airport safety equipment across the country.
The NiMET boss,who stated this while speaking with journalists in an interview in Abuja, added that since he came onboard, the agency has invested a lot of money in upgrading its Numerical Weather Prediction Department with the assistance of Weather Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
The NiMET boss stated that to reduce the risk of negative weather phenomenon like Low Level Windshear System and other possible moving weather system, the agency installed negative instrument, which are very sensitive and capital intensive such as Doppler Radar System, Runway Visual Range (RVR) across all the 24 airports and specifically for the four major airports and that NiMET has independent weather forecast offices.
Speaking further, he said that some of these instruments have sensors installed in them and that even at airports that have perimeter fences, the agency still has very serious challenges of vandalisation.
Low Level Windshear Alert System (LLWAS), the DG said has eight sensors, adding that if more than three are down, it will not give a clear picture of the windshear,pointing out that this is a major hazard to aircraft either landing or taking off.
The DG stated that in view this, NiMET came up with a model of integrating communities around in securing some of these installations and that he has constituted task team on airport operations and parts of the task team have the agency’s safety officers,who according to him now engage the hosting communities, involve them in securing the equipment.
NiMET, he informed provide the communities with some incentives and welfare to help protect the equipment .
Matazu said that the agency has also come up with an alternative method of monitoring and forecasting these windshear without using a sensor, rather it uses a Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) system.
“Since I came onboard, we have spent a lot of money in upgrading our Numerical Weather Prediction Department with the assistance of Weather Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and out of these, we have what is called Satellite Mile Casting Facility and this milecasting is giving us a diagnostic analysis any cloud over Nigeria and we believe we can detect also the possibility of potential of any airport of being affected by windshear.
“So, we are complementing these two and it is giving us a very clear result. In the first phase, we are earmarking 10 airports and out of the 10 airports, three have been addressed now and we are doing the other two in the next two weeks. We intend to cover the 10 airports before the end of the year and by the first quarter of next year, we are going to address the remaining airports,” he assured.
The CEO said that the agency is hopeful that by June of 2022, operations at Nigerian airports will be more than 95 per cent optimum and that the agency is also very confident that the aviation community is very happy with NiMET performance .
He informed that NiMET has met the International Standard Organisation (ISO) 9001 2015 and that the agency is the first meteorological service in Africa to achieve this, adding that because of this feat; the WMO is now recruiting NiMET personnel to assist other African countries to move forward.
The DG disclosed that the weather forecasting services it provides for Liberia and Sierra Leone, the two West Africa countries is based on this technical assistantship and in line with WMO voluntary partnership, adding that it does not cost the two nations anything .
According to him, “This is at no cost to the two countries, but it is due to the goodwill of Nigeria. It shows that NiMET is transforming from the initial weather service to the advance and now, we are getting more relevant in Africa.”
Matazu revealed that the recent WMO assessment has categorised NiMET as the best meteorological service on the continent.
This,he pointed out is a plus for the Federal Government, especially the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika for his excellent leadership and the additional support the agency is getting from the Ministry and the policy direction towards providing the service.
He hinted that apart from providing services for Sierra Leone and Liberia, the agency also help Mozambique and Malawi on early warning and the quality management system.
The DG added that as for The Gambia, NiMET personnel have been there in the last two years, training 40 personnel of their meteorological service in The Gambia on the basic data entry and early warning system, stressing that the first set graduated in April this year.
“Sirika and I travelled for the graduation ceremony and the President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow expressed his deep appreciation by inviting the team to the State House”, Matazu said.