From Idu Jude, Abuja
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has ordered its grassroots mobilization officers to begin sensitization of communities in the frontline states to relocate immediately as the operators of Lagdo Dam in Cameroon have commenced the discharge of excess water from its reservoir with a likely flooding of 14 states in Nigeria.
The Director General of the Agency, Dr. Garba Abari said the directive followed the alert already issued by Nigeria Hydrological Agency (NIHSA) with prediction of consequential damage to many communities on the coast of River Niger and Benue. He recalled the 2012 flooding which cut off some roads in some parts of the North Central and North East regions of the country and displaced many communities.
Abari said, “the report from NIHSA indicate that the Lagdo Dam operators in the Republic of Cameroun have commenced the release of excess water from the reservoir by September 13, 2022. We are aware that the released water cascades down to Nigeria through River Benue through its tributaries, thereby inundating communities that have been already impacted by heavy precipitation. The released water complicates the situation further downstream as Nigeria inland reservoirs, including Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro are expected to overflow between now and October ending”.
NIHSA has also reported that Kainji and Jebba Dams have already started spilling excess water from their reservoirs.
The NOA DG further, said, “This will have serious consequences on frontline states and communities along the courses of Rivers Niger and Benue. These states include Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Enugu, Kebbi and Kogi. Others include the Niger Delta states of Edo, Delta, Anambra, Cross-River, Rivers and Bayelsa States,” he said.
The Director General urged the State Directors to create awareness on the need for State Governments to “identify safe high grounds for evacuation of communities at risk, preposition adequate stockpiles of food and non-food items, portable water and hygiene and provide safety and security to enable them have fair level of comfort during periods of possible displacement”.
He also asked the Community Orientation Officers to identify other partners that will help to support communities at risk with necessary information that will assist them to move to safety.