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‘Unauthorised forecast’ | ‘We’re not competing’ — NiMet, NGO clash over thunderstorm alert

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has faulted the Nigerian Lightning Safety and Research Center (NLSRC), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), for issuing an unauthorised thunderstorm alert. 

The NLSRC had on April 15 tweeted a warning alert to Nigerians, saying thunderstorms are expected across the country in May.

“Thunderstorms are expected to spread across Nigeria throughout May. The RED states are at higher risk of severe lightning strikes and flooding. Prepare for possible fatalities & fire outbreaks. Stay informed and stay safe,” the alert reads.

However, in a statement on Sunday, NiMet said it is not the responsibility of NLSRC to issue such alerts, adding that the NGO has committed an offence.

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“NiMet wishes to inform the public that at no time did it authorize NLSRC to issue any such weather forecast to the public, as this is the statutory function of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency,” NiMet said.

“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)).

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“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 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).”

The agency said the public should disregard the information issued by NLSRC.

‘WE’RE ONLY RAISING AWARENESS’

In response, NLSRC told NiMet that it does not intend to compete with the agency on its statutory obligation.

The organisation said the alert was solely for the education and awareness of Nigerians.

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“We acknowledge that NLSRC may not have received the necessary approval or authorization from NiMet before issuing the weather forecast to the Nigerian public,” the NGO said.

“However, we would like to assure you that our intention is to raise awareness about lightning safety and protection of lives, properties, and public infrastructures in Nigeria.

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“We do not intend to compete with NiMet or any other government agency responsible for weather forecasting and dissemination of meteorological data and information.”

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The non-profit said it shares a mutual goal with NiMet, and as such, it hopes to collaborate with the organisation in future.



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