Why flooding from Cameroon is not a problem – NEMA

By Joshua Amaugo August 12, 2015 17:19

Why flooding from Cameroon is not a problem – NEMA

The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA has revealed its preparedness to preempt any negative fallout from possible flooding linked with the emptying of Cameroon’s Lagda Dam.

The Public Relations Officer, NEMA, Sanni Datti, spoke exclusively to POST NIGERIA and intimated on the level of the agency’s preparedness adding that stockpiling of relief materials is well under way.

He also added that the agency was drawing up plans to evacuate Nigerians who might be likely affected by flood.

    “What we are doing presently is sensitization, aside; we are also trying to identify safer ground in case there is flooding and a possible evacuation too.

    “We are also stockpiling relief items, as we are well informed, unlike what happened in 2012 when the Cameroonian authority released the water from the dam without proper information,” Datti said.

The Cameroonian Government recently informed its Nigerian counterpart of its decision to release the water in its Lagdo Dam leading to rising concerns for Nigerians living in and around that vicinity.

The last time water was released from the dam in 2012, the excess water from the dam contributed to massive flooding of communities along the river line area in Nigeria.

Datti said both Governments had to address this.

    “After the 2012 crisis, the Nigerian Government had to sign an agreement with the Cameroonian authority basically in 2013, agreeing that they most duly notify the Government ahead of time in order to take proactive measures.”

According to the Director of Operations, NEMA, Shehu Maitama, the 2012 flood destroyed houses and farmlands estimated at N120 million, displacing at least 2,000 families.

In Adamawa, 10,000 persons were displaced and 10 Local Government Areas were severely affected, with many reported missing, while not less than 15 dead bodies were recovered.

The worst-hit areas were in Fufore, Girei, Yola South, Yola North, Demsa, Numan, Lamorde, Shelleng, Michika, Guyuk and Ganye LGAs.

Benue and Kogi States also had a fair share as so many communities and houses were submerged along the River Niger and River Benue coast lines, infrastructure and property worth millions of Naira including farmlands were destroyed.

Lagdo Dam was built in the Northern Province of Cameroon along the coast of the Benue River in 1982, with an agreement that the Nigerian Government would embark on a similar venture along the route of the river to contain the gushing water when released.

According to reports, a shock absorber dam was proposed, and even named “Dasin Hausa Dam,” capable of generating 300mw of electricity and irrigate about 150,000 hectares of land and provide crop tonnage of 790,000 tons in Adamawa, Taraba and Benue.

Unfortunately the project design was not taking seriously by the Shehu Shagari led government, as it was taken with a pinch of salt and since then no Government has paid attention to such vital project.

According to Datti, this time around preparations are in top gear to avert a repeat of the 2012 crisis.

    “The states that are likely to be affected are Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi and Benue.

    “We have enough time actually that is why we have launched a full scale sensitization programme on Radio, Television and via all communication channels.

    “We are working side by side with these likely States so that the people living most especially in the front line will be evacuated,” he said.

Asked if the agency by law is empowered to forcefully evacuate those who would probably resist such moves, Datti revealed “We don’t have such powers as an agency that is why we are working with the State Government, Local Government and Community Heads, which might have such powers to do so.”