“Be prepared”, Leadway urges Nigerians on NiMET’s 2023 weather forecast 

“There is also the urgent need to protect the enormous investments already made into agriculture,’’

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Leadway Assurance Commpany Limited, a multi-product insurance company on Monday advised Nigerians to prepare comprehensively to mitigate the vagaries of extreme weather conditions in 2023.

The Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET) has predicted heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and heavy flooding in its weather forecast for 2023.

Managing Director of the Leadway, Mr Tunde Hassan-Odukale, said in a statement it issued in Lagos that stakeholders must prepare proactively for eventualities that would trail the weather forecast.

“NiMET in its forecast published in January stated that 2023 would witness early onset of rainfall accompanied by flooding.

“Starting in March, coastal areas in the South-South, particularly Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers, will experience torrential rains.

“Southern inland cities will experience precipitation in April, while central states will experience heavy rains in May.

“NIMET also predicted extended rainfall in Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu, Anambra, Ogun, and Lagos states.

“Between June and July, the northern states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno would experience the beginning of rain, which will be at its peak between July and September,’’ he noted.

Hassan-Odukale stated that agriculture business investors, business owners, property and asset managers, families and individuals, must proactively take action to mitigate the devastating human and material losses that could arise from the oncoming floods.

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“With the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report that Nigeria’s food inflation rate peaked at 24.35 per cent in February, there is an urgent need to prioritise food security.

“There is also the urgent need to protect the enormous investments already made into agriculture,’’ he added.

He said the Leadway Assurance had designed insurance policies to help flood victims to recover from massive financial losses, which experts had estimated at more than N4.2 trillion.

Hassan-Odukale noted that the agriculture, which contributed 26.97 per cent to GDP in 2022, was the most vulnerable sector to flood.

He observed also that the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, had estimated that agriculture lost about N700 billion to floods in 2022.

He said also that the construction and property sectors were also vulnerable to flooding in 2023, noting that the NBS had reported that they contributed about N20 trillion to the GDP in the first three quarters of 2022.

The 2022 floods resulted in 662 deaths in 33 states and the ruination of agricultural investments and other properties estimated at trillions of naira.

The Federal Government estimated that more than two million Nigerians were displaced, while the national economy lost more than N4.2 trillion to the 2022 floods.

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The 2023 weather forecast paints a bleak picture, against the backdrop of prevailing global inflation and economic vulnerabilities and uncertainties.