The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has warned of a flooding disaster eminent in Benue, Anambra, and six other states following the recent release of water from the Cameroon Lagdo Dam.
Other states to be affected are Taraba, Nasarawa, Kogi, Edo, Delta, and Bayelsa, with Adamawa already affected.
The Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Ahmed, made this known on Saturday, October 7, 2023, during an emergency meeting with stakeholders in Abuja.
Recall that the Cameroonian government has in August written to NEMA on the country’s plans to open the Lagdo Dam floodgate, advising NEMA to take proactive steps to mitigate damages.
It urged NEMA to specifically sensitise 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 the letter to NEMA.
Speaking at the emergency meeting on Saturday in reaction to the flood disaster that affected Adamawa State from October 4, Ahmed said NEMA was alerted to the suddenly increased inundation of riparian communities and farmlands along the banks of River Niger in Adamawa, Taraba, and Benue states in the past 48 hours.
“Situation reports from Adamawa State confirm the upsurge of floodwaters along the flood plains of River Benue. The situation is expected to be replicated in the downstream states of Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa Kogi, Anambra, and Edo. Delta and Bayelsa as the River Benue joins River Niger and flows to the Atlantic Ocean through the Niger Delta,” he said.
He said the sudden situation was attributed to the rapid release of waters from Lagdo Dam in the Republic of Cameroon, adding that it had displaced residents of the affected communities.
He stressed that croplands and valuable infrastructure were at risk of getting washed away by flood waters.
“As a result of the unfolding situation, I want to use this opportunity to alert authorities of state and local governments along rivers Niger and Benue basin areas to immediately activate their emergency response plans to avert potential damage and losses that will arise due to inundation of communities by flood waters.
“Furthermore, we are expecting to receive updates from the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) NIMET, NEMA Operations Office in Yola Adamawa state and from State Emergency Agencies of the frontline states to keep on updating you on the situation as it unfolds,” Ahmed said.
He added that the Agency’s dashboard indicated that this year’s flood scenario had affected 159,157 persons, resulting in the loss of 28 persons and the displacement of 48,168 individuals across 13 states.