By Gabriel Ewepo
THE Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, NIHSA, yesterday, said dam construction in delta area of the River Niger would not control flooding due to the topography. This was stated by the Director General, NIHSA, Engr. Clement Nze, while expressing concern over the current situation across the country.
According to Nze, while answering questions on state of the nation in regards to the rising level of flood ravaging over 30 states in the country, explained that dam construction is difficult in the delta area because it has a flat landscape and that kind of land is not suitable for water inbounding, which could be disastrous.
He said: “Talk of dams in delta axis, there are conditions that must be favorable before you can build a dam. The delta is a flat place, it is flat and there is no place it can inbound water. The place is already flat and if you try to put the dam you will end up subverting the whole territory.
“I have gone to other dams including Tiga Dam, Bakolori Dam, Moroyo Dam. Some of them the reach which they inbound water runs into several kilometers more than 100 kilometers and no human being can ever go there left and right. If you build structures it must be more than 50 kilometers away, such that you can never envisage any development close to it.
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“Well, you can build small dams like earth dams you can build in such places. Those ones can hold water for irrigation facilities. But to envisage such huge dams in those areas might be difficult because of the topography.”
“On the issue of dams, I mentioned it, in the River Niger axis we have two dams there, Kainji and Jebba dams. That is why when we are alerted in Niger Republic that we have a red alert we had to call Kainji and Jebba Dams that this flood is arriving on this date so prepare the dam now block whatever excess flood coming from Niger Republic.
“So, we are safe when it comes to river Niger axis, we can handle the problems on that axis”, he said.
But the NIHSA boss expressed worry over flood from River Benue and lamented the inaction of past administrations for lack of political will to construct a buffer dam at Fofure in Adamawa State to absorb the flood from Cameroon.
“But for River Benue, between 1977 and 1982, I think I said it sometime ago that Cameroon began to build Lagdo Dam, which is about 7.6 billion cubic meters and they advised Nigeria in 1982 to do their own as buffer dam in the event they release water or even if their own will break the one in Nigeria would absorb whatever is coming from Cameroon.
“Ours was to be located at a place called Fofure that was about N16 billion cubic meters in a village or community located in Adamawa State called Fofure that is Hausa Dam.
“Unfortunately, it remained on the drawing board and nothing has happened. To build a dam, especially on such a large river like Benue is not an easy thing, especially going by Nigeria economy as at today and it would take hundreds of billions of Naira to build such a dam.
“But I have been talking about the several tributaries of River Benue, which are very active. We have River Gongola, River Kastina-Ala, we have a dam there called Kashambila. So it can regulate what comes into River Benue.
“River Kastina-Ala contributes about 27 per cent of the volume of River Benue. We have other rivers including Gongola, Bonga and Mayokebbi and several of them in Taraba and Benue States flowing into River Benue”, he stated.
He also advised government to consider constructing small dams that would help in reducing water emptying into River Benue.
“So if they (government) can put small dams in those places it would help to reduce what comes into the main River Benue. Now building dams like I mentioned is not just an easy thing that you can do”, he added.