Abuja rains a curse or blessing?

Abuja City gate

Every year Nigeria, like its African counterparts, experiences the rainy season and for farmers, it is a blessing. However, in Abuja, the nation’s capital, it is with mixed-feelings. TOPE SUNDAY, ABUBAKAR IDRIS and IGIRAH ALVIN AONDONA take a look at the scenario.

For some weeks now, major cities in Nigeria are experiencing rainfall which could be called an annual ‘ritual’ in the country. Abuja, the country’s seat of power, is not an exception. While this should be seen as a blessing, some residents of the city view the development with mixed-feelings.

Some of them told Blueprint Weekend that they usually defy the early morning or late evening rains to eke out their daily living while others stay indoors while it is raining.

Also, this medium also gathered that some business owners engaged in brisk businesses while others complained of low patronage during the season.

The country’s climate

According to weather and climate.com, the climate of Nigeria is tropical; however there are wide climatic variations in different regions of the country. Near the coast temperatures rarely exceed 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit), but humidity is very high and nights are very hot. Inland there are two different seasons.

It stated that a wet season from April to October, with lower monthly temperatures and the wettest month being June. Also a dry season from November to March, with midday temperatures that rise above 38° Celsius (100° Fahrenheit) but relatively cool nights, dropping as low as 12° Celsius (54° Fahrenheit).

The site added that an average rainfall along the coast varies from about 180 cm (70 in) in the west to about 430 cm (170 inch) in certain parts of the east. Inland, it decreases to around 130 cm (50 inch) over most of central Nigeria and only 50 cm (20 inch) in the extreme north.

“The hot Harmattan wind from the Sahara sweeps across the northeastern areas which. The Harmattan wind is hot and dry and carries a reddish dust from the desert. The southwest wind brings cloudy and rainy weather,” it stated.

A breakdown of the site’s document shows that Nigeria has three seasons of wet, dry and harmattan seasons.

Abuja as capital city

Also, like some of the Nigerian towns and villages, Abuja also has three seasons of wet, dry and harmattan seasons.

According to Wikipedia, Abuja, the capital of Nigeria is the eighth most populous city of Nigeria. The city, which is located in the centre of the country within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), replaced Lagos, the country’s most populous city, as the capital on 12 December 1991. Abuja’s geography is defined by Aso Rock, a 400-metre (1,300 ft) monolith left by water erosion. At the 2006 census, the city of Abuja had a population of 776,298, making it one of the ten most populous cities in Nigeria (placing eighth as of 2006).

According to the United Nations, Abuja grew by 139.7% between 2000 and 2010, making it the fastest growing city in the world. As of 2015, the city is experiencing an annual growth of at least 35%, retaining its position as the fastest-growing city on the African continent and one of the fastest-growing in the world.

Also, as of 2016, the metropolitan area of Abuja is estimated at six million persons, placing it behind only Lagos as the most populous metro area in Nigeria.

The residents’ experiences

Like is a culture in Nigeria, every season has its advantages and disadvantages, and the rainy season can not be said to be different as some will benefit from it while others will have something to complain about.

Some of the residents of Abuja who spoke to our reporters expressed mixed-feelings about the season. Though, the majority of them described it as a blessing, they however, disclosed that rains at times had disappointed them in one way or the other.

A resident, Ephraim Samuel, described it as a blessing, saying that rains had not done anything that would make it a curse.

“Well, I will say it’s a blessing because so far so good, rains haven’t done anything to be called a curse. There hasn’t been a flood to consider it as a curse. It is our only option for food next year.

“Rains have affected all of us, because it’s from it we are able to grow and harvest crops. So, negatively, I haven’t had any negative experience from rain,” he said.

Another resident, Sandra Chiazokam, said rains save her from experiencing water scarcity in her area, said as a Point of Sale (PoS) operator, her business is affected when rain falls.

She said: “The rain is a blessing because in my area, there is a shortage of water and rain saves me money for buying water. But it has affected my business because I am a POS operator and I can’t do business under the rain. However, like I said, the rainy season is good.”

However, Sulyman Sulyman, expressed a mixed-feeling about rain in Abuja, stating that during the rainy season some roads in the capital city are not motorable, disclosing further that it usually ruins his schedules.

“Well, I will say it is a mixed- feeling because when it rains the weather is cool and nice but after a heavy downfall, it ruins my schedule for the day. When it rains, the roads become impassable and I can hardly go to work after a heavy downfall. Also, if it rains on a weekend, I can’t go and exercise because of the rain,” he said.

Also, Abdulmalik Rafiu, who said rain is a blessing because of its provision for food all year round, lamented that in most cases, he could not go to work because of it.

“I think it’s a blessing because we are in the season of rain and we need rain and also farmers need it in their farms so that plants will germinate very well and crops like yam, cassava, plantains also need rain for them to be strong.

“So, when it’s time for sales, farmers will have bumper sales. Despite this, sometimes, if I want to go to work, I can’t because of rain but I still like the rain,” he said.

Viewing it from another angle, a trader, Pascal Chudi, said though, it is a blessing from God, but declared that when it rains, dirty objects will flood the front of his shop, which will cost him to clear them.

“Rain is never a curse, rather it is a gift from God. Everything has a season. The only difficulty is that when it rains, dirty objects will gather at the front of my shop and everywhere is dirty and because of this, I spend money for it to be cleared,” he said.

But a graduate and job-seeker, Doris Dauda, claimed that rain had once prevented her from attending a job interview.

“Rain in Abuja for me is not a good thing because we all know how it rains unnecessarily in Abuja. There was a certain time early this month that I had an interview with a hotel as a receptionist at Maitama by 8, but I couldn’t go because it rained non-stop. So, for me it’s a curse,” she said.

Despite all the mixed feelings about rains, a fisherman, Agbata Humphrey Ojochide, disclosed that Abuja rains are blessings to him, saying that when it rains, he makes more profits.

He said, “It depends on your line of business but the rain in Abuja has been a blessing for me. As a fisherman, when it rains, I get more profit because I catch lots of fishes.”