Nigeria has moved to adopt the use of Earth observation (EO) data to enhance flood monitoring and environmental management efforts in the country. This disclosure was made by the Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Engineer Clement Nze as he made his address during the opening session of a two-day workshop on the GMES and Africa, in Abuja.
While speaking, Nze appreciated one of GMES and Africa’s consortium, the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education (CSSTE) for organizing the virtual regional training on Sentinel 1, 2 and 3 Data, in line with the “identified training needs of stakeholders and organizations around West Africa with a view to enhancing their capacity in delivering their respective institutional mandate.”
While explaining the importance of the training, Nze added that “this training programme will focus on building capacity on the acquisition and use of Sentinel 1, 2, & 3 data: Processing and Application. Processing chain of Sentinel data to services including modelling, damage assessment and forecast services.”
“It is pertinent to note that capacity building that was identified as one of the major pillars of the GMES and Africa support programme has led the CSSTE consortium to identify strategic training needs of its collaborating stakeholders on the Multi-Scale Flood Monitoring and Assessment Services for West Africa (MIFMASS) project. Hence the need to train and empower stakeholders to sustain the benefits from the programme’s product and services.”
The Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency NiMET, Professor Sani Mashi, in his goodwill message at the event, noted that the capacity building initiative was timely especially with the increasing incidence of flash and riverine flooding across the West African Sub-region in recent years.
Prof Mashi said: “During the last decades, the trend in flood damages has been growing exponentially. Improved capacity to forecast, monitor and assess floods using Earth Observation Data is, therefore, an essential element in regional and national strategies to mitigate this annual event.”
He added further that “sustainable economic and social development requires that flood forecasting and warning systems for communities at risk, be continuously developed, which in turn demands an optimal combination of data, forecasting tools and well-trained specialists. A flood forecast system must also provide sufficient lead time for communities to respond.”
“I am confident that training of this nature will provide useful skills and knowledge to all the trainees for planning to establish such forecasting system.”
The leader of CSSTE Consortium, Dr Ganiyu Agbaje, told reporters that the Nigerian satellites in orbit have the capacity to provide needed earth observation data to support efforts aimed at predicting and checkmating the adverse effects of flooding and other natural disasters by relevant government agencies.