The recent decision to release significant water from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam has triggered concerns about potential flood disasters in states along Nigeria’s Benue River route. Several regions are now urging residents in flood-prone areas to evacuate for their safety.
To minimize loss of life and property states at risk have appealed to residents living in vulnerable communities to relocate temporarily. The National Emergency Management Agency has identified 11 states that could be adversely impacted by the dam’s release: Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Cross River.
These states issued advisories on Sunday, urging residents to vacate the areas to avoid harm and damage. The alert was prompted by Cameroon’s announcement to the Nigerian Federal Government about the imminent release of water from the Lagdo Dam.
The African Affairs Director at Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Umar Salisu, conveyed this information in a letter dated August 21, 2023. The letter, directed to the National Emergency Management Agency, highlighted Cameroon’s decision to open the floodgates due to heavy rainfall near the dam’s catchment area in Northern Cameroon.
The letter assured that the release of water would be managed in a controlled manner. Authorities at the Lagdo Dam would gradually release water in small quantities to mitigate potential harm along the Benue River basin in both Cameroon and Nigeria. The letter called for proactive measures by the agency to minimize damage and cautioned residents in affected areas to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions.
The Lagdo Dam, located 50 kilometres south of Garoua, releases significant water volumes during overflowing, leading to downstream flooding in various Nigerian states.
In response, some states confirmed their plans to demolish structures near waterways. Additionally, several states designated certain schools as shelters for internally displaced persons.
Officials from the National Emergency Management Agency and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency emphasized that while there’s no immediate cause for alarm, the states in the Benue River’s path—Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Cross River—are expected to be affected by the Lagdo Dam’s water release.