The Environment

Senate warns of looming disaster as Cameroon releases Lagdo dam

The Senate on Tuesday asked the Tinubu-led Federal Government to construct the Dasin Hausa Dam project with a view of finding a permanent solution to perennial flooding crisis in the country by making budgetary provisions beginning with the 2024 Federal Budget, reports Daily Sun.


To avoid the impending disasters that come along with such a flood crisis, the lawmakers equally called on the Federal Government through the Inland Waterways Authority to dredge the River Benue, River Niger and other River tributaries all the way to Lagdo dam (in cooperation with the Republic of Cameroon).


The Legislators arrived at the decisions in response to a motion presented during plenary titled”Urgent Need to Address the Recurring Issue of Flood-Induced Damages caused by the wilful release of water from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon: The Need for a permanent solution to the problem and restitution for the communities ravaged by the phenomena” sponsored by Senator Binos Dauda Yaroe (Adamawa South) and 16 other senators.


In the course of delivering his lead debate Dauda informed his colleagues that a large portion of the land mass of Adamawa, Taraba, Benue and Kogi States lie within the River Benue trough, which is flooded every rainy season occasioned by natural run-off and discharges mainly from Lagdo dam.


Dauda brought to the fore the plight of communities located in the aforementioned River Benue plains who engage in the cultivation of different crops both in the wet and dry seasons.


The Adamawa South Lawmaker reminded his colleagues that on September 12, 2023 the Federal Government, through the National Flood Early Warning System, issued a flood alert that some parts of the country may witness heavy rainfall resulting in the rise of the water levels of Rivers Benue and Niger, which may lead to flooding.


Speaking further, Dauda told the members of the Hallowed Red Chambers that the frequency and intensity of hydrological hazards such as flood as being experienced annually from unregulated releases most especially from Lagdo dam will continue to cause various forms of catastrophic outcomes unless a lasting solution is implemented.


He said; “The discharges of water from Lagdo dam whenever it reaches its critical level often brings about the overflowing of the banks of River Benue inundating flood plains downstream the dam thereby causing great destruction to farmlands, infrastructure and even often resulting in loss of lives.


“The major reason adducible to this malaise is the low channel capacity of River Benue that will allow it hold large volume water due to the high degree of siltation of the river.


His lead debate further informed that the incessant flooding adversely hampers the efforts of thousands of farming population in crop production in the Benue trough, especially the dry season farms, located in the flood plains, such as the Adamawa State Government Dam Irrigation Scheme in Demsa Local Government.


Yaroe argued further that the aforementioned problems would have been a thing of the past if the River Benue was dredged and appropriate Receptors or Buffer Dams in the Upper Bonus Region of Nigeria were constructed, into which the unregulated discharge from Lagdo dam could be channeled and therefore released gradually in-order to minimise the flooding of the downstream communities.


“Areas at severe of flooding consequent upon the releases from the Lagdo Dam” Yaroe asserted; “and the natural surface run-of are the riverine local governments in Adamawa, Taraba, Denue, Kogi, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States.


“In 2012, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2022 and this year high incidences of flood along the River Benue trough all the way to Bayelsa State severely affected the communities in the States stated above and this year torrential rains and releases at water from Lagdo has severely flooded and submerged many communities and farmlands rendering many families homeless and helpless, Dauda continued.”


The Senator bemoaned that the when Lagdo dam was to be constructed In the 1990s it was agreed that Nigeria will construct a buffer dam in Dasin Hausa in Fufore Local Government of Adamawa State to serve as a buffer dam to contain spills from Lagdo Dam, but regrettably to date the Dasin Hausa Dam has not been constructed.


Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) called for decisive actions for construction of the dam. Aliero bemoaned the continued postponement of the dam’s construction.


On his part, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) advocated for the dredging of the River Benue in addition to the construction of the dam.


He said “My state Is also affected, the final solution is to dredge River Benue in addition to the dam. We might not achieve it in a year but we can make budgetary provisions to dredge River Benue.”


The notion that only states at the lower level are affected was dispelled by Senator Diket Plang ( Plateau Central) according to him States at the higher level were also affected too. Plank further suggested that dams which are capable of storing water should be constructed so that the water can later used for other economic purposes.


Senator Abba Moro on his part emphasised that the dredging of the River Benue would bring a permanent solution to the problem. He urged the Tinubu led Federal Government to write its name in Gold by taking concrete action to construct the dam.


At the conclusion of the exhaustive debate, the Senate in its resolutions urged the Federal Government to intervene, through the Ecological fund Office, to construct some of the flood prevention structures such as dykes, embankments, levees, and flood measuring devices at key points along the Benue River in order to protect farmlands, infrastructure and downstream communities in the Benue trough.


Additionally the Senate called on the National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, to, in consultation with the affected states listed urgently carry out a comprehensive assessment of communities affected by flooding with a view to providing them with relief materials.


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