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The Federal Government of Nigeria has explained that contrary to widely held beliefs, water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon is not responsible for the flooding that has devastated parts of Nigeria.
While the Senate Committee on Water Resources, like many Nigerians, was of the view that water released from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon was responsible for the devastating flood in many parts of the country, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said that was not the case.
The minister said the flood is due to water flowing from tributaries like River Katsina-Ala and others flowing into River Benue due to the consistent downpour.
“Yes the dam releases water; sometimes it releases water without notice and when they do that, it has impact on communities downstream. “It is not the main reason you have flood in this country.
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‘The tributaries of River Benue are the main cause. And this year, the rains have been unprecedented.
‘The trans-boundary water that even comes into this country from Rivers Niger and Benue constitutes only 20 per cent of the fresh water that flows into the country.
‘Eighty per cent of the flood is water we are blessed with from the sky falling on Mambila and Jos Plateau.
‘Most of this flow is from Nigeria. You cannot stop flooding, it’s a natural phenomenon; just like you cannot stop earthquake,’ he said.
Senator Adamu Aliero had raised the issue of floods in the country during the budget defence of the ministry and asked what efforts the ministry was putting in place.
Speaking on Lagdo Dam, the minister said ‘when President Paul Biya came here on a state visit in 2016, it took efforts to get a memorandum of understanding for them to be informing Nigeria about releases of Lagdo Dam.’
The minister said despite the MoU, it was the Nigerian hydrological services that would call Cameroon whenever flood time came.
‘Even this one, they are the ones who should keep us informed about the level of the water, but they didn’t. They informed us 24 hours after,’ he said.
The Senate Committee also wanted to know what happened to Dasin Hausa dam in Adamawa State, which was meant to mitigate the effects of water released from Lagdo Dam. The minister replied that it was still on the drawing board, but added that even if the dam is built, it will not help much.
‘Whether we are able to do the dam or not, we will continue to have floods on the Rivers Niger and Benue Basins.
“There was a consultant that had been appointed by the previous administration to work on this dam. When I came into office, I checked the scope of work and the terms of reference. I was not satisfied that justice will be done to that design.
‘You cannot build a dam as important and strategic as Dasin Hausa on River Benue without a detailed feasibility and engineering design.
‘I disengaged the consultant in 2016. It was one of the 116 projects that we had,’ he said.
He, however expressed confidence that by March 2023, the dam would be completed.