The federal administration announced Monday that it will regulate the release of water from Cameroon’s Lagdo dam, claiming that the flood generated by the dam would be less catastrophic than the flood in 2022, which was the worst in the country’s history.
Ishaq Salako, Minister of State for Environment, made the assurance yesterday, on the same day that the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, urged Nigerians not to panic, assuring that everything was under control.
Remember that the Cameroonian government wrote NEMA last weekend notifying it of preparations to release water from the dam.
The minister, speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily breakfast show, said flooding was unavoidable as a result of the dam’s opening, and that his ministry was working on precautionary measures.
He added that the ministry has also issued warnings and alerts to residents living near the banks of the River Benue, urging them to relocate to higher ground.
“The ministry is aware, and I’m sure most Nigerians are aware, that Cameroon wishes to open that dam,” he stated.
“Thankfully, it is not a sudden opening because the management of the dam’s opening will result in less severe flooding, which is what we anticipate compared to 2022.”
“However, you are aware that there have been numerous warnings, alerts, and requests for people living along the banks of the River Benue to relocate to higher ground.”
“As a result of the dam being opened, we anticipate some flooding.” And it is unavoidable because if the dam bursts on its own, the calamity will be even worse.
“So it’s better to have a controlled release of the dam’s water to ensure that the damage is minimal.”
Salako stated that the Bola Tinubu administration hoped to expedite the completion of the alternative dam in Adamawa State so that it could contain water when the dam was opened in following years.
“On the issue of long-term flood prevention from the opening of that dam, the government of Nigeria has been considering for some time now building another dam in Adamawa state to hold some of the water when the Cameroon dam is opened.”
“So I think going forward, what will help us is if we are able to, of course, implement the dam that is planned to be built, which I believe is still ongoing but taking a long time.”
“But hopefully, under this administration, we can focus more on it, but that’s really not the purview of the ministry of environment,” he said.
In comparison to 2022, the minister stated that the ministry now had a more robust alert system, which would help predict when flooding would occur in order to take actions to prevent damages and ensure no lives were lost.
NEMA assures Nigerians that everything is under control.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has allayed Nigerians’ concerns about the release of surplus water from the Lagdo Dam on the River Benue in the Republic of Cameroon.
Manzo Ezekiel, Head of the Press Unit of NEMA, stated yesterday that the agency was already working with essential stakeholders at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure that the discharge did not have a significant negative impact on the low-lying communities along the impacted states.
It is worth noting that the downstream states of the River Benue are Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Enugu, Edo, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa.
“The agency anticipated this release of excess water from the Lagdo dam, taken note of the likely impacts, and considered in the preparations for mitigation and response to the 2023 flood alert,” according to the statement.
“According to information available from the Nigerian Hydrological Service Agency, NIHSA, gauging station in Makurdi, the flow level of River Benue stood at 8.97 metres on August 25, 2023, compared to 8.80 metres on the same date in 2022.”
“In contrast, NIHSA has also stated that the flow level of the River Niger system, specifically at Niamey, Niger Republic, will remain stable at a normal level of 4.30 metres.” In addition, inland dams like as Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro experienced regular flow regimes.
“The hydrological station downstream of the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers in Lokoja, Kogi State, is currently operating within normal limits.”
“The downstream monitoring station, however, registered a flow level of 7.80 metres on August 25th, 2023, compared to 8.24 metres on the same date in 2022.”