Clement Nze, the Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, has stated that the notification about the release of water from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam was received approximately seven days after the dam had already been opened.
The Cameroonian High Commission had informed the National Emergency Management Agency that due to heavy rainfall in the dam’s catchment area in Northern Cameroon, the floodgates of the dam would be opened in the coming days.
Nze further mentioned that the most vulnerable states, according to NEMA, are Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Enugu, Edo, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa.
He revealed that he received the notification on Saturday night, which was approximately seven days after the dam was opened.
On August 22, being Tuesday, the permanent secretary in the Water Resources Ministry sent it to me to verify immediately. I had to put a call through to the hydrologist on the dam in Cameroon and it was not until Wednesday morning that we got talking.
So, he sent me all the details that they opened the dam 10 minutes past 10 am on the 14th of August and they had been spilling water at the rate of about 20 million cubic metres per day; about 200 metres per second, he said.
When asked if the information was “late news,” Nze replied, “That may be so.”
Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, president of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, urged the government yesterday at a press conference in Abuja to build flood control dams along the Rivers Niger and Benue to prevent flooding caused by the opening of the Lagdo Dam.
He also advocated for major river dredging to reduce siltation and sedimentation.
He claimed that the recommendations of the committees formed by the government following the flood disasters of 2012 and 2022 to conduct research and develop comprehensive action plans to prevent recurrence had not been implemented.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued yesterday by its spokesman, Manzo Ezekiel, NEMA urged Nigerians not to be concerned about the opening of the Lagdo Dam. He stated that NEMA was collaborating with key stakeholders at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure that the release had no negative consequences.
Information available from the flow level of River Benue at Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) gauging station in Makurdi stood at 8.97 meters as of Aug. 25, compared to 8.80 meters on the same date in 2022.
In contrast, NIHSA has also provided that the flow level of the River Niger system, specifically at Niamey, Niger Republic, remains stable at a normal level of 4.30 meters.
Similarly, inland dams including Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro reported consistent flow regimes.
With regards to the hydrological station downstream, the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers in Lokoja, Kogi are currently within normal limits.
The downstream monitoring station, however, registered a flow level of 7.80 meters on Aug. 25, compared to 8.24 meters on the same date in 2022, he said.