A defect in the design and installation of high tech weather forecasting equipment might have cost the Nigerian aviation industry billons of naira in revenue over a period of 13 years because the equipment was not instal as planned at strategic locations across the country to aid flight operations among others.
In 2007, the then Federal Executive Council (FEC) under former President Olusegun Obasanjo awarded the purchase and installations of Doppler Radar equipment in Lagos and Kano airports, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) oversees all weather forecasting and related activities in Nigeria, but they were never installed until now.
Findings showed that the cost of erecting a new tower was not included in the contract, as the engineers preferred to mount the equipment with a weight of 12 tonnes each on weakened existing towers constructed in 1974 in both airports, an action rejected by the American firm engaged to install the equipment, hence the delay for 13 years.
A Doppler weather radar is ‘use to locate precipitation, calculate its motion, and estimate its type, be it rain, hail, snow, etc’ which greatly help in flight planning and operations.
Confirming the development, Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET ), Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi said the construction of the towers which should have cost a little over N100 million in 2007 has increase to more than N400 million as cost of the steel component which have arrived the country.
He said the agency requested for intervention from the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) fund and affirmed that before the middle of the year, it will ensure 80 percent total coverage of the country with the installation of the equipment.
Prof. Mashi said “When the contract was designed in 2007, there was a designed problem. The radar was supposed to be mounted on top of a tower, in Kano and Lagos locations, there were towers that were erected in 1974 so the contract was designed in such a way that rather than constructing a new tower, those ones of 1974 will be used so to save money, that was how the project was under designed.