Just In: Relief In Nigeria As Cameroon Stops Release Of Water From Ladgo Dam Amid Fear Of Flooding

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It had been reported on Monday that Kogi, Nasarawa, and some other Nigerian states had been identified as the first point of contact should the volume of water from downstream River Benue increase due to the planned opening of the dam.

The Nigerian government on Tuesday announced that managers of the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon have halted their plan to release water from the dam.

It had been reported that Kogi, Nasarawa, and some other Nigerian states had been identified as the first point of contact should the volume of water from downstream River Benue increase due to the planned opening of the dam.

However, authorities in Cameroon had alerted the Nigerian government that they would open the dam to release water, which would have put some Nigerian states at risk of being flooded.

On Monday, the Yola Operations Office Coordinator of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Ladan Ayuba gave a list of the states likely to be affected as Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Edo, Enugu, Anambra, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa.

He explained that there would be a gradual release in days ahead due to heavy rainfall in Cameroon.

He, however, added that the water had yet to be released.

“When the water will be released depends on the agreement between the Nigerian Government and Cameroon. They have to agree on the modalities so that it will not cause havoc,” he had added.

There had been fear that many states could be flooded leading to loss of lives and property. In 2022, over 600 Nigerians died while over one million others were displaced by flood.

However, the Director-General, of Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, Clement Nze, while briefing journalists in Abuja on the August 2023 water releases from Lagdo Dam, revealed that the release of water from the facility was stopped by 11 a.m. on Monday, August 28, 2023.

Nze, according to The PUNCH, explained that in Nigeria, the month of June every year serves as the beginning of a new hydrological year in the River Niger Basin

He said the River Niger Basin covered nine countries in West and Central Africa namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.

Under the umbrella body of the Niger Basin Authority based in Niamey, Niger Republic, Nigeria is downstream of all the countries in this basin, the Director General explained.

He said, “The months of July, August September, and October of every year signify periods of heavy rainfall, flooding, and flood disasters in most parts of the country. The Lagdo Dam is located on the Benue River in the Niger Basin.

“The Cameroonian authorities commenced the release of water from Lagdo Dam by 10.10 a.m. on August 14, 2023. This was communicated to the DG of NIHSA on August 23, 2023, by the Cameroonian hydrologist in charge of the dam.”

Nze said the release of water from the dam commenced at the rate of 200 cubic metres per second, which was about 18 million cubic metres of water per day.

“According to the (Cameroonian) official, this exercise will continue for the next seven days seeing that the reservoir level currently stands at 213.46m and the maximum permissible level of the reservoir is 214.02m.

“The said official also added, ‘We will continue to observe the situation. If there is no major inflow, we will close the spillway in the coming days. The situation is under control.’”

The NIHSA boss stated that by August 25, 2023, the water releases from the reservoir had reduced to 50 cubic metres per second, which was a normal reservoir operation and was too negligible to cause any flooding downstream.

“However, by 5.46 pm yesterday, August 28, 2023, the hydrologist in charge of the dam notified the Director-General of NIHSA that they stopped spilling water by 11.00 am that same yesterday,” Nze stated.

He also stated that there had been steadiness in the flow of the River Benue system, as “the water level at our monitoring station in Makurdi, Benue State is 9.01m as against 9.68m that was recorded on the same date in 2022”.

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