The Federal Government of Nigeria has advised state governments in frontline areas to take necessary measures towards mitigating the potential impact Lagdo Dam floodgate.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Dr Betta Edu, gave the advice while issuing flood warning alert during meeting of Presidential Committee on coordination and implementation in Abuja.
Edu said the call became necessary following an alert by the Cameroonian authorities to release the water from the country’s Lagdo Dam.
The minister, who spoke at the instance of the Minister of Water Resources and that of Environment, expressed the need for effective implementation of policies and rescue missions aimed at mitigating against the impacts of the flooding.
Edu, while acknowledging the State Governments’ zeal in tackling emergencies, urged them to ensure immediate evacuation of Nigerians living in flood front areas to safer destinations.
”State Governments have done quite a number of preparedness, we also appeal to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the need to step up actions by ensuring immediate evacuation of Nigerians from various communities to safer destinations.
”Lagdo Dam floodgate has been opened by the Cameroonian authorities and that all the frontline States may experience flooding within the next seven days,” she said.
She also pledged the readiness of the Ministry to work with Subnational and Local Governments towards providing shelters for the affected citizens.
”Because, some of the people living in most of the communities who may be affected are afraid of losing their ancestral homes, despite the warning ” she said.
She therefore assured Nigerians on the resolve of the President Tinubu-led administration to put necessary measures in place to safeguard the lives and properties of Nigerians.
Also speaking, the Minister of Environment, Dr Iziaq Salako, said the ministry has already activated the necessary flood warning alerts being released on hourly basis.
”Especially, on the water level of River Benue and River Niger as well as vulnerability level of the affected areas,” he said.
Salako also said, the ministry has designed a veritable platform that would provide regular and real time information to Environmental Corespondents on the floor warning alerts without waiting for the Ministry.
He noted that recommendations on long term measures and solutions will be presented to Mr. President as part of ongoing efforts towards finding lasting solution to the menace of flooding.
He also reiterated the resolve of the present administration towards working with Cameroon authorities towards ensuring that the impacts of the release of Lagdo Dam floodgate do not result to loss of lives and property as well as ensure that the damages are minimised.
Also speaking, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, tasked Nigerians on the need to take necessary steps toward clearing drainages while government at all levels play their roles.
Utsev assured Nigerians that his ministry would on the long run ensure construction of dams as well as dredging of Rivers across the country with the view to end the menace of annual flooding, which has led to loss of several lives and property.
He also noted that the Ministry is already meeting with relevant stakeholders at various levels in the bid to control the waters.
The committee also assured Nigerians of its resolve to provide necessary medical support to Nigerians who may be affected by the flooding, including scourge of malaria and other water borne diseases.
The Cameroonian authorities said they would open the dam “in days ahead, due to heavy rainfall around the dam catchment area in Northern part of the country”.
A letter dated Aug. 21, 2023, and signed on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs ministry by Umar Salisu, Director, African Affairs, addressed to the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The letter noted: “it is pertinent to note that when the release of water becomes necessary, the authorities of lagdo dam will be releasing on modulated variable mall amount of water at a time, in order to mitigate and avoid damages that the released water may cause along the River Benue basin both Cameroon and in Nigeria.”
By Ahmed Ubandoma