The Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, Clement Nze, yesterday said the notification on the release of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon came about seven days after the dam was opened.
He said this while featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
The National Emergency Management Agency had been informed about a note verbale from the Cameroonian High Commission that officials had resolved to open the floodgates of the Lagdo Dam in days ahead due to the heavy rainfall around the dam’s catchment area in Northern Cameroon.
NEMA had listed most vulnerable states Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Enugu, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa.
Nze said he saw the notification “on Saturday night, that is, (the letter was) dated 21st, about seven days or so after the dam had been 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 could be considered “late news”, Nze said, “That may be so”.
The president of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, urged the government to construct flood control dams along the Rivers Niger and Benue to avert flooding that might occur from the opening of the Lagdo Dam.
He also called for the dredging of major rivers to reduce siltation and sedimentation.
He said the recommendations of the committees set up by the government after the 2012 and 2022 flood disasters to conduct research and develop comprehensive action plans for preventing reoccurrence, had not been implemented.
Meanwhile, NEMA, in a statement yesterday by its spokesman, Manzo Ezekiel, asked Nigerians not to be afraid of the opening of the Lagdo Dam. He said NEMA was working with critical stakeholders at the federal, state and local governments to ensure that the release did not cause negative impacts.
He said: “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.