…assures release of water’ll be better managed than last year’s
Minister of State for Environment, Dr Ishaq Salako, on Monday, assured Nigerians that the floods caused by the Lagdo dam will be less severe this year when compared to that of 2022, when Nigeria experienced its worst flooding over a decade.
Salako, who spoke on a Channels TV interview programme, said his ministry is aware of the intended opening of the dam by the Cameroonian authorities.
The Minister noted that although flooding is inevitable whenever the dam is opened, his ministry is already working on some preventive measures.
He added that the ministry has also been warning and alerting people living around the River Benue banks to the impending danger and had been appealing to them move to higher grounds.
Salako said, “The ministry is aware and I’m sure most Nigerians are aware that Cameroon wants to open that dam.
“Thankfully, it’s not a sudden opening because the management of the opening of that dam is going to cause less severe flooding. That is what we envisage compared to 2022.
“However, you know that there’s been a lot of warnings, alerts and requests to people who are living on the banks of the River Benue to relocate to higher grounds.
“So, we expect that some flooding will occur as a result of the opening of that dam. And it is inevitable because if the dam overflows on its own, the disaster that it will cause will be worse.
“So, it’s better to have a managed release of the water in the dam to ensure that the damage is not as much.”
The Minister added that the President Bola Tinubu administration is expediting action on the completion of an alternative dam in Adamawa State, which will hold water when the dam is opened in subsequent years.
He added, “On the issue of long term prevention of flooding from the opening of that dam, for some time now, there has been an approach by the government of Nigeria to build another dam in Adamawa State so that it can hold some of the water when the Cameroon dam is opened.
“So, I think going forward, what will help us is if we are able to, of course, implement the dam that is planned to be built, I think the project is actually ongoing but it’s taking a while.
“But hopefully, under this administration, we can focus more on it, but that’s really not under the purview of the Ministry of Environment.”
Salako also disclosed that the Ministry now has a more robust alarm system compared to 2022.
He noted that this will help to predict when flooding will occur, in order to take preemptive measures to reduce the damages and ensure that lives are not lost.