By Gabriel Agbeja
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has canvassed for partnership among African nations to develop and expand the technical expertise of meteorology in Africa.
Mr Muntari Yusuf, the Managing Director of Corporate Communications Unit, Nigerian Meteorology Agency (NiMet), in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, quoted Sirika as making the call at an event in Gambia.
The event was an inaugural graduation ceremony of Middle Level Meteorological Technicians held at the Department of Water Resources Training School, Banjul, Gambia.
Sirika said that there was a need for synergy amongst the nations in the continent in order to breach the technical gap for Africa to develop sustainably in the field of meteorology.
The ministry commended the government of the Gambia for taking the initiative to conceive and develop the idea that led to the graduation ceremony.
According to him, the ceremony is a testimony to the great value of the training programme and its impact on the people and the developmental process in the Gambia.
He added that the occasion also underscored the importance attached to the contributions of meteorology to sustainable socio-economic development, safety and social wellbeing of citizens of the Gambia.
“For a successful and sustainable socio-economic development of any community or nation, capacity development, regardless of limited resources, must be emphasised.
“It is in view and realisation of this that the Nigerian government through NiMet, approved the transfer of two technical staff from the Agency to travel to Gambia in order to train the Gambian Meteorological Personnel.
“Recently acquired skills by Gambian personnel through fervent support of NiMet, by extension from Nigerian Government, would play a critical role as the West African country seeks to get its own International Standard Oganisation (ISO) certification.
“This would not only boost their global acceptability but improve the quality of their workforce as the trained officers are expected to transfer same to their colleagues, “ the minister said.
Contributing, the NiMet`s Director-General, Prof. Mansur Matazu, who accompanied Sirika to the epoch event, commended the personnel for internalising and displaying a receptive attitude during the course of the training.
Matazu said that the training began with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries in May 2018.
According to him, the training commenced in July 2018, with 40 students sent for the training as Meteorological Technicians (20 each year).
He said that of the 40 students, 29 successfully completed the programme in August 2020.
“Upon the successful completion of the first phase of the two years MoU, the second MoU was signed in May, 2020 for another five years for both capacity building and technical assistance.
“The second MoU implementation started in January 2021 through the training of eight Meteorological Technicians – Forecasters (BIP-MT Senior Level) Programme. The BIP-MT Senior Level will end in October, 2021”, he said.“
Meanwhile, the host nation’s Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources Honourable, James Gomez, thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria for the technical assistance accorded to the personnel in the Gambia.
He affirmed that the engagements would further deepen the existing bi-lateral cooperation between the two West African countries.
Sirika and Matazu also paid a courtesy call to the President of The Republic of The Gambia, President Adama Barrow at the State House. (NAN)