By Laide Akinboade
Faced with prospects of damaging impact of the flooding from Lake Nyos on over 200 communities in Nigeria, the Federal Government as a matter of urgency has approved the construction of a dam in Kassimbilla in Taraba State.
Director General of National Emergency Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Sidi, stated this at a public forum in Taraba state, said the lake continue to be a threat to the people that live around the lake notably in Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Adamawa and Anambra States,.
According to him, “Lake Nyos is a crater lake in the Northwest province of Cameroon, which is a deep lake high on the flank of an inactive volcanic activity. The lake poses threat due to its weakening natural wall. Some experts have warned that a geological tremor could cause the dike to give way, allowing water to rush into downstream villages all the way into Nigeria.
But he nevertheless said to address the problem; the Federal government has approved the construction of a dam in Kassimbilla in Taraba state to contain any excessive flooding and gaseous content from slipping into the country from Lake Nyos in Republic of Cameroon.
I have also engaged an advocacy and meeting with stakeholders on finding appropriate methods to prevent and mitigate natural and man-made disasters in the country.”He said the agency has been communicating with states that may be affected in Nigeria and the agency has also developed a warning mechanisms.
Meanwhile, a Civil Society Coalition on Disaster Risk Reduction (CSCDRR ), has raised alarm over the danger that is posed by Lake Nyos to Nigeria.
CSCDRR stated this in a statement that was issued and signed by National Co-coordinator of CSCDRR Badanga Ahmed Lamidi, said it is imperative for the nation as a matter of urgency for the Federal Government to convene a stakeholders’ meeting to ascertain the level of preparedness of the nation, in case of flooding of the Lake.
Nigerians are desirous of knowing the state of work on the construction of the N42billion Kashimbilla Multipurpose Dam across Katsina Ala River which was expected to have taken a period of three years to complete. Although NEMA is in touch with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources which is handling the dam project the delay of work on the Dam heightens the fear of Nigerians on nthe danger of the Lake Nyos.
According to NEMA, “The Kashimbilla/Gamovo Dam provides a classical example of the strong link between disaster management and national development”.
Among the frontline states, Benue State is the most exposed to the Lake Nyos disaster risk as twelve local government areas are vulnerable. The state government has been very active in preparedness and mitigation planning. The government has identified high ground communities, schools, places of worship, etc for rapid evacuation of the most0-at-risk population in the event of the dam-break.
With a good early warning system in place and given the projected arrival time of eight hours of the resultant flood from Lake Nyos dam_break at the Cameroon_Nigeria border, it is expected that our collective response plans would be adequate to avert a major calamity.