Are Lightning And Thunder From “Amadioha”?

By Chris Adobe.
Some time ago,  two fatal cases of lightning strike were reported in Bauchi and Kogi states by the media. The Bauchi incident killed people labouring in their farm to produce more food for the Nigerian nation and the entire humanity while in Kogi, people who were mainly women were killed inside their church while praying for the country. When this is combined with the now prevalent dastardly acts of bombing and other violent crimes that are plaguing the country, the apprehension of the citizens in the area of security of lives and property becomes worse. This writer is motivated by the concern for the needed safety of lives and property from this natural disaster which some people also believe to be a spiritual cataclysm. Consequently, this piece is intended to give a basic explanation of lightning and thunder and from there proffer some safety measures that will enhance the protection of human lives and property from this environmental hazard and also disabuse the minds of those who think that lightning is a spiritual attack. Ordinarily, when two different electrical poles become connected, there is a spark and a flash of light. Subsequently, when any conductor of electricity touches the electrical setting, the current also passes through it. If the conductor has feeling, it receives a shock and can eve die or get destroyed in the process if the situation is severe. The popular electricity is the one that comes from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and also the one that comes from generating sets. These are man-made or artificial forms of the energy. Lightning is the naturally generated form of electricity. It is formed as a consequence of condensation which occurs in the atmosphere during the process of rain formation. During condensation, a large amount of heat energy is released into the atmosphere. This heat causes some atmospheric gases to ionize forming positive ions and negative ions. These ions segregate and polarize the atmosphere into positive and negative poles or terminals. The polarization occurs between the upper cloud and the lower cloud and between the lower cloud and the earth’s surface or ground. Thu the stage is set for the flow of electricity between these terminals. It is the spark that occurs when these terminals are connected that we see as lightning. Lightning itself introduces more heat into the atmosphere. All this heat now present in the atmosphere makes the air to expand and contract violently to produce the dreadful noise we hear as thunder. Think of the noise of a bomb or other explosions or even the blaring of harsh horns by a train or a trailer. They are all noises produced by the violent contraction and expansion of air by artificial means. Thunder is the naturally produced form of sound energy. The two events of lightning and thunder occur simultaneously. However lightning is usually seen before thunder is heard because light travels faster than sound. Thinking about the amount of electricity in one lightning bolt will make our public power supply from PHCN look like a mere finger battery. The voltage and the amperes are so enormous that if successfully harnessed, just one bolt can sustain Nigeria’s electricity needs for a year. Ironically, it is the almost harmless thunder noise that is dreaded even though the deadly one is the lightning. The dangerous lightning that causes havoc is the one that passes between the lower cloud and the ground surface where we live and have our niches. The effect of thunder is minimal. It merely destroys people’s ear drums and causes panic that is capable of worsening the illness of hypertensive patients. It can now be appreciated that lightning and thunder are mere natural occurrences. There is no god behind them. They are not spiritual events. So anybody or thing they affect did not offend any god, especially “amadioha”, the Igbo god of thunder! Only the unfortunate circumstances of time, space and protection lapse make people susceptible to their dangers just as is the case with traffic and other accidents. The Nigeria Institute for Metrological Services (NIMETS) rain forecast for this year, as broadcast, failed to take lightning into consideration. It should have included the fact that with the expected increase in rain within the year, there would be a concomitant increase in lightning and thunder episodes so that our people would be alerted to take necessary precautions. In the light of this, the following protective measures are suggested to eliminate or at least minimize fatalities in the case of any lightning strike. For precision and easy understanding, they will be listed:
All buildings especially tall ones should have installed on them protective lightning rods. Those that died in the Kogi church would have been saved if the building in which they were had a functioning lightning rod
Avoid open places such as vast stretches of open fields. The farmers in Bauchi were in an open place
Stay indoors or inside a car
Avoid tall trees and seek shelter under the shortest one if in a wooded environment
If you cannot get away quickly from an open place, squat down and hug your knees with your head in between. This makes you smaller like a dot so that no much of your body would be damaged. Some or all of the Bauchi farmers would have been saved if they had tried this
Do not go barefooted or hold electrical conductors like metal bucket in the rain
To a victim, quickly administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation even if he/she appears dead, to avoid brain damage, and rush to hospital as quickly as possible.
To those who believe that lightning and thunder are spiritual forces, it will be of benefit to you to be peaceful, law-abiding, godly and not to commit any abominable offence especially in the area of indiscriminate desecration of our customs and traditions so that the ire of the “spirit” of lightning and thunder will not be upon you.
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