The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) on Monday warned Nigerians, especially residents of Edo, Delta, Rivers, Anambra and Bayelsa states to prepare for more flooding in the coming days because of the release of water from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon.
Residents of the Lekki area of Lagos and other parts of the state are also not spared of the coming flood, which the agency says will be as a result of further rains in the southern part of the country and along the coastal states.
Director General of the agency, Engr. Clement Onyeaso Eze, blamed the Cameroonian authorities for the flooding which he said has ravaged communities in Adamawa, Taraba and Benue states and breaching the MOU entered between Nigeria and Cameroon on the release of water.
He said even when the agency made enquiries, the Cameroonian authorities first denied releasing water from any of its dams but later admitted doing so after series of enquiries backed by video evidence of the rising water level along the River Benue.
He said further that the Cameroonian authorities may have envisaged what is going on now and advised the Nigerian government to construct its own buffer dam to absolve whatever water may be released from the Lagdo dam, saying unfortunately, the buffer dam has remained on the drawing board.
According to him: “For about two weeks, Adamawa state has been under flood and that comes down to Taraba and Benue and everything converged at Lokoja in Kogi state.
“This is already November and the flood level as at today, the 44th of November 2019 is about 11.97 against 8 we had at this particular time in 2012 when there was a serious flooding in Nigeria.
“This agency is the most visible, most active and most responsive agency when it comes to the upstream sector of flood related disaster in Nigeria. We see it ahead of time ad try to alert the nation on what is about to happen and we keep updating the nation.
“As at today, certain parts of Nigeria are experiencing flooding. Parts of Adamawa state has been submerged, Taraba i affected adversely and Benue state. Infact the governor was on air talking about the same issue and then, Kogi state is the epicentre because both River Benue and Niger meet at that point.
“It was only today that both Kainji and Jebba dams closed their gates from spilling water. Kainji dam in Niger state and downstream of it is Jebba dam. Kainji began to spill water almost a month ago, Jebba must follow suit and both of them has been spilling water to down stream.
“It was only today that the two dams closed their gates and only maintaining what we called environmental flow which is normal. They had to spill water because of the excess coming from the upper parts like Niger republic.
“As a country, Nigeria entered into an agreement with our neigbouring country, Cameroon with regard to two structures in that country that has adverse effect on Nigeria. The first that occurred in 1986 was Lake Nyus which is a gaseous lake and it broke and spill some of its poisonous gas into the environment and all manner of things died. The other structure is the Lagdo dam which is about 7.6 billion cubic litre dam.
“While they were building that between 1977 and 1982, they asked Nigeria to build a buffer dam within the Nigerian part of the River Benue so that once there is a release of water from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon, our own buffer dam will check it. Incidentally, our own dam is still on the drawing board.
“It was supposed to be built in a community called Fulfule in Adamawa state with a capacity of 15 million cubic litre so that even if Lagdo dam collapses, our own dam will absolve whatever is coming down.
“But as at today, whatever is coming from the Lagdo dam comes under free flow into Nigeria. That was what led to having an MOU between the two countries that in the event that the dam is overwhelmed, give Nigeria adequate notice such that at least, we can evacuate human beings or whatever need to be removed from the way will be removed.”
Speaking on flooding in Lagos and Ogun states, Eze said: “If you go to the south western part of Nigeria, the Oyan dam under the auspices of Ogun/Osun River Basin was overwhelmed by the level of flood that they had to open their gate and as such, Lagos and Ogun states has been adversely affected and they are still battling with flooding in those two states.
“Ondo and other parts of Lagos like the Lekki axis have been adversely affected by coastal flooding which they are still battling with. States like Bayelsa and Rivers will not only be affected by the release of water from the Lagdo dam, but also coastal flooding.
“The agency wishes to advise the following states down stream Kogi state namely Edo, Delta Anambra, Rivers and Bayesa states to be on the watch out. They are placed on red alert because the flood that was sited in far away Adamawa state will still find its way down to these states before emptying into the Atlantic ocean.
“The rainfall season within the southern part of Nigeria will still continue and may continue till December in some places which means a combination of the flooding caused by the release from the dam and the rainfall within these areas will still aggravate the flooding in these locations.
“By this time in 2018, the flood level in Nigeria has generally gone down, the same with 2012 when we had the biggest flooding season ever in Nigeria. So, the southern states of the country and Kogi state are not yet free.”