The Nigerian federal government has issued an alert to states and relevant agencies about the Cameroonian government’s plan to open the floodgates of the Lagdo Dam on the Benue River. The move follows heavy rainfall in the northern part of Cameroon, prompting authorities to announce the upcoming release of water from the dam.
A letter dated August 21, 2023, signed on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry by Umar Salisu, Director of African Affairs, was sent to the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The letter urged NEMA to take the necessary proactive steps and actions to mitigate potential damage and to sensitize residents living in vulnerable areas to remain vigilant and take precautions.
The Cameroonian authorities emphasized that they would release water from the dam in modulated, variable amounts to minimize damage along the River Benue basin in both Cameroon and Nigeria. This water release is expected to significantly impact around 13 states in Nigeria, including Kogi, Benue, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe.
To prepare for the potential flooding, the Nigerian Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation advised flood-prone states to conduct comprehensive sensitization campaigns, ensure unobstructed drainage systems, and consider the strategic relocation of residents living along riverbanks to safer areas.
Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Joseph Utsev, along with Minister of State, Bello Goronyo, emphasized the need for collaboration and transformative changes within the ministry to effectively respond to the situation. As the region braces for possible flooding, concerted efforts at all levels of government aim to minimize damage and protect vulnerable communities.
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