THE Cameroonian government has written to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on its plans to open the floodgate of the Lagdo Dam soon, The ICIR can authoritatively report.
In a letter, received by the agency and signed by the director of African affairs, Umar Salisu, the Cameroon government said that the opening of the dam became necessary due to the heavy rainfall around the dam catchment area in Northern Cameroon.
“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,” the letter said.
However, the officials advised that NEMA take proactive steps to mitigate damages and sensitise Nigerians living around the region, who might be affected by the released water.
The Lagdo dam is located in Northern Cameroon, and opening the floodgates allows water to flow into Nigeria’s River Benue. However, excessive release of water can exacerbate flooding in Nigerian communities around the water region.
In 2022, the dam was opened on September 13, and the excessive water released, alongside continuous heavy rainfall, displaced 1.4 million Nigerians from their homes. The ICIR also reported that about N700 billion in agricultural investments were lost.
Recently, the federal government disclosed that 32 states, 178 local government areas (LGAs) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are at risk of heavy flooding in 2023. The ICIR has also captured in several flood series reports the preparations and mitigation plans of some states towards the 2023 prediction.
Despite this, over 33,00 people, according to NEMA, have already been affected by flooding this year. There are also questions around the utilization of ecological funds, as 12.9 billion have been shared with 36 states in the first four months of 2023.
Meanwhile, NEMA Spokesperson Ezekiel Manzo, told The ICIR that since the letter was received, the agency had increased its sensitization activities, particularly in the Benue state communities closer to the water channels
Manzo said, “We are not raising a reg flag yet but we are on alert. With this opening coming at this period of the rain season, the intensity of the rain will increase, It means all our activities and preparation for the flood would increase and that has started.”
The spokesperson noted that the country has entered into the timeline slated for another flooding but the agency is putting all effort into mitigating the effect.