At an inaugural graduation ceremony of Middle Level Meteorological Technicians held at the Department of Water Resources Training School, Banjul, The Gambia, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika stated that for Africa to develop sustainably in the field of meteorology, there is need for synergy amongst the nations in the continent in order to breach the technical gap where it exists.
Senator Sirika, who commended the Government of the Gambia for taking the initiative to conceive and develop the idea that led to this important graduation ceremony, said that “Today’s gathering is a testimony to the great value of the training programme and its impact on the people and the developmental process in The Gambia. It also underscores the importance attached to contributions of meteorology to sustainable socio-economic development, as well as safety and social wellbeing of citizens of this great country”.
For a successful and sustainable socio-economic development of any community or nation, capacity development, regardless of limited resources, must be emphasized. It is in view and realization of this that the Nigerian government through the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, approved the transfer of two technical staff from the Agency to travel to The Gambia in order to train The Gambian Meteorological Personnel.
The recently acquired skills by The Gambian personnel through the fervent support of NiMet and by extension the 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.
Furthermore, the Director-General/CEO of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Professor Mansur Bako Matazu who accompanied the Minister to this epoch event commended the personnel for internalizing and displaying a receptive attitude during the course of the training which began with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries in May 2018. “The training commenced in July, 2018, with 40 students sent for the training as Meteorological Technicians (20 each year). 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 8 Meteorological Technicians – Forecasters (BIP-MT Senior Level) Programme. The BIP-MT Senior Level will end in October, 2021”, Professor Matazu said.
Meanwhile, the host nation’s Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources Honourable, James Peter Gomez thanked the Federal government of Nigeria for the technical assistance accorded to the personnel in The Gambia and used the medium to affirm that these engagements would further deepen the existing bi-lateral cooperation between the two West African countries.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and the Director-General/CEO of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency also paid a courtesy call to the President of The Republic of The Gambia, H.E. President Adama Barrow at the State House.