By Emma Ujah
With the rains setting in, Federal government is taking some steps to avert a recurrence of the national disaster caused by flooding last year, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, has revealed.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, yesterday, Ochekpe said that a Nigerian delegation has already visited Cameroon where it asked to be fully briefed early on any plan to release excess water from the Lagdo Dam this year, to enable Nigerian officials take precautionary measures to avert another flooding.
According to her, “the delegation went to Cameroun to ensure that Nigeria gets informed early when there is need to release water from the Lagdo Dam.” The massive flooding of many parts of Nigeria last year, was traced to the release of water from the dam.
Mrs. Ochekpe said she has directed the nation’s engineers at all dams along the Benue River course to ensure the draining of the water in those dams, when necessary to enable the dams take in as much.
as water as possible from the Lagdo Dam when its water is released.
In addition, she disclosed that other additional dams were to be constructed along the Benue River Course, as according to her, River Benue drain about 60 per cent of the nation’s water making it imperative for additional dams for economic purposes, as well as, protect Nigerians from flood disasters.
Lagdo Dam which was built in Lagdo town on the Adamawa Plateau in the Northern Province of Cameroon in 1982 has been a major sources of flooding in the lowland communities in Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, lying along the course of the Benue River.
Last year’s unprecedented flooding also swept many communities in Benue and with the combined massive water from both River Benue and River Niger meeting at Lokoja, swept much of lowland Kogi, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers on its way into the Atlantic ocean.
It was learnt that Lagdo Dam became a menace to Nigeria owing to the nation’s failure to construct sufficient dams along the Benue River Course, as initially agreed with the Cameroonian government in 1980.
Sources said that in 1981, a shock-absorber dam was designed. Tagged the “Dasin Hausa Dam,” the multi-purpose facility was, besides cushioning the effect of the Lagdo Dam flooding, supposed to generate some 300mw of electricity and irrigate about 150,000 hectares of land (and provide crop tonnage of 790,000 tons in Adamawa, Taraba and Benue states). Similarly, it was meant to provide employment opportunities for 40,000 families and make available navigational route of the Benue River to the Niger Delta.
The project which should have been sited at Dasin Village of Fufore Local Government Area of Adamawa State was later ignored with the consequent he flooding and destruction of lives and property in Nigeria over the years.
Experts have warned of heavy rains in the country this year, asking that necessary measures be taken to avoid a repeat of the flood disasters of last year.
Already, parts of Southern Nigeria have already started experiencing flooding owing mainly due to blocked drainage.