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By Okechukwu Nnodim
March 24, 2010 12:09AM
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) on Tuesday allayed fears that the current change in the weather in our country might cause skin ailments.

Speaking to journalists at the agency's Lagos office, Ifeanyi Nnodu, the acting director weather forecasting services, disclosed that people should not take seriously, the warnings that they stay indoors because the weather will result in acid rain that is cancerous to the human skin.

'People should go about their businesses. The moon does not give acid rain,' he said. 'There is nothing to be worried about, for acid rain does not give cancer and it is not associated with the moon.'

According to Mr. Nnodu, acid rain is caused by man's activities that inject oxides of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur into the atmosphere. He added that when it rains, the particles are brought back to the earth, affecting plants, metals, and some other organisms, but not humans.

'It is something that happens normally in industrial areas, not because you are in March 2010, so when it rains you should go about what you are doing,' he said. 'The rain may be acidic as a result of industries in Lagos, but it does not cause cancer.'

Last week, there were speculations by people in the state that the prevailing weather condition might result in a rainfall that is cancerous to the skin, and the situation led to emails and text messages requesting people to stay indoors whenever it rains.

Mr. Nnodu, however, advised asthmatic patients to desist from environments that are dusty, as this may exacerbate their ailment.

'Dust particles are irritants to those who have asthmatic problems, health problems, and heart diseases, and they are usually advised to keep indoors so that it does not aggravate their health conditions,' he said.

On when the hazy weather is to clear, Mr. Nnodu disclosed that the onset of the rainy season will dispel the harmattan fog, especially in southern Nigeria.

'The dust may persist for some time in the northern part of this country, but from the predications we gave concerning the onset of the rainy season, the southern part is already getting to its offset, and we are expecting that the rains will come and the dust will disappear,' he said.