Environment Protection

Lagdo Dam: Anxiety Mounts across Benue River, as Cameroon Releases Water from Dam, 17 States at Risk

Every year, between the months of September and October, the Cameroonian government usually release waters from the Lagdo dam to free space for the dam as excessive water portends danger to the country if the dam is not opened.

However, as soon as the water is released, it spreads across states where the river flows. About 17 States in Nigeria are always at the risk of flooding whenever this happens.

Just yesterday, the lagdo dam was opened again and the 17 states in Nigeria are at risk.

Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Ministry, Dr. Beta Edu, said Lagdo Dam started discharging its excess water into Benue River as from yesterday.

Edu, addressing the state house correspondents after the maiden meeting of the Federal Executive Council, said effects of water from Lagdo dams would be felt within next seven days in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the Environment Minister, Dr. Ishaq Salako said his ministry had activated necessary flood warning alert on hourly basis. Salako said information of the flood warning would be provided to journalists.

Also yesterday, the presidential committee on flood met yesterday in Abuja. The committee asked state government to embark on the immediate evacuation of people from structures in flood prone areas.

NEMA’s spokesperson, Manzo Ezekiel, said it is time for the affected state governors to take action and secure lives and properties, in collaboration with NEMA.

He said: “There was a particular letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to the DG NEMA and NEMA is the recipient of that publication. The communication is not coming to us by surprise and has not taken us by surprise.

“In our preparation for flood mitigation and response this year, we envisaged that a situation like this will arise.

In all our programs and activities for flood management this year, we had in mind that there could be a release of water and.

‘’Therefore, in line with this, NEMA has written to all the state governments, including the governors of the frontline states that are likely to be impacted by the release of this water from Lagdo Dam.

“So what has happened now is just a way of confirming our program and the time has come for us to tell the government of the states that are likely to be impacted to match all the awareness information we have given them with actions, so that people that are living along the river areas would begin to have a plan to move away.

‘’Ths is because the release of the water has a consequence of overflowing the river bank.

Therefore, NEMA is prepared and we have begun preparations long before now.”

The Cameroonian government has in August written to NEMA on the country’s plans to open the Lagbo Dam floodgate, advising NEMA to take proactive steps to mitigate damages, It urged NEMA to specifically sensitize Nigerians living around the region who might be affected by the released water.

“The authorities of the Ladgo Dam will be releasing only modulated variable small amount of water at a time in order to mitigate and avoid damages that the released water may cause along River Benue basin in both Cameroon and in Nigeria,” Cameroon stated in the letter to NEMA.

IMAGE: Lap’Afriqe

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