Opinion / Editorial

The Heat Wave Is Here Already


Even before the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), warned Nigerians to get ready for more hot days, warm nights and heat waves across the country, that weather condition was here, worsened by the pervasive short supply of petroleum products in the market and inadequate public power supply.

Before this recent warning, the weather agency, in its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), had earlier revealed that the country would experience late on-set, early cessation and lower-than-normal rainfall this 2016. It went on to say, however, that notwithstanding the expected lower-than-normal rainfall prediction, the outlook did not rule out  a possibility of isolated flash floods due to high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in naturally floods, prone places. As if these were not frightening enough, NIMET further stated that the SRP outlook presented risk factor for farmers in the affected areas, urging all concerned to develop strategies to scientifically manage it. This, in our opinion, is indulging in needless demagoguery and hifalutin technicalities.

We thank NIMET, however, for this warning in the hope that all concerned, not just farmers will, indeed, develop strategies to scientifically manage it. Heat wave, floods all have other implications that should worry not just farmers. In our view, those issues are capable of raising health, environment and disaster management concerns. We expect the authorities to take the hint and begin to, in a proactive manner, map out modalities for managing diseases like meningitis, heat stroke and possibly a forced change in lifestyle.

It may not be out of place to speculate the possibility of climate change being responsible for this weather condition. Already, the federal government is chasing what experts consider ambitious climate change plans. Last December, it committed to cutting down greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030. To this end, it is ramping up its renewable energy programme such as solar. While this is a commendable response by the government to the climate change challenge, it is our argument that it falls short of the immediate needs of a people buffeted on all sides by factors that may make 2030 look like eternity.

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Regardless, we feel enamoured by the reaction of Nigerians to what is essentially a threat to their well-being. Already, it is observable that the weather condition is bringing about a change in the way people leave their daily lives. Maybe, as a response to the scientific way of managing it, some are adopting methods that, to all intends, will only provide temporary relief like resorting to multiple showers, sometimes at night, sticking to light clothing, and doing away with heat generating diets and make-ups.

On a personal level, this is, in our considered view, a survivalist strategy. What we expect the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at federal and state levels to do is to latch on to  NIMET’s predictions and devise means of educating the people on steps to take to cope with the situation on a sustainable basis. As noted earlier, heat wave can give rise to certain ailments which are capable of becoming public health issues. These may also be compounded by the crowded accommodation most Nigerians live in which does not ease, in any remarkable way, the process of ventilation needed in times like this.

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