Title: Anxiety in Benue as Cameroon Sheds Excess Water from Lagdo Dam
Tension Grips Benue State as Cameroon Releases Lagdo Dam Waters
Residents of Benue State are facing heightened anxiety as they brace for the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam by Cameroonian authorities. The announcement, made by the Principal Special Assistant (Media and Publicity/Strategic Communications) to the Governor, Bridget Ikyado, has sent shockwaves through the region. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has issued a warning, listing the states at risk of flooding as Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Edo, Delta, and Bayelsa.
This development has raised concerns among the residents of the nine states, particularly those living along the banks of the River Benue, as they grapple with the impending threat of floodwaters that are projected to persist until the end of October. NEMA Director-General, Mustapha Ahmed, has emphasized the urgency of the situation, urging states and local councils along the River Niger and Benue basins to activate their emergency response plans promptly to mitigate potential devastation.
James Iorpuu, the Executive Secretary of Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA), confirmed that the state government is actively strategizing to address the impending crisis. He assured the public that the government is diligently working on modalities to lessen the impact of the expected flood, although specific details will be communicated to the public shortly.
In the wake of the flood predictions in nine states, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has called upon the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to utilize the Ecological Fund for swift coordination and enhanced public awareness. Andrew Mamedu, the Country Director of AAN, expressed concern over the neglect of erosion-prone areas and other disaster-vulnerable zones in various states, despite substantial allocations from the Ecological Fund. The group has urged an immediate and comprehensive review of the fund’s utilization and the urgent deployment of resources for emergency response and prevention of future disasters.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had previously sounded the alarm regarding the impending flood in the aforementioned states, which resulted in the displacement of communities and posed a significant risk to crops and critical infrastructure. AAN stressed the urgency of the situation, citing the loss of 28 lives and the displacement of thousands as evidence of the need for collective and concerted efforts to address the crisis.
AAN reaffirmed its commitment to collaborating with the government, affected communities, and relevant agencies to provide immediate relief, support, and rehabilitation efforts. The organization urged the affected states to activate their emergency response plans promptly to safeguard the lives and property of their citizens.
In a statement, AAN emphasized, “At this critical juncture, AAN calls on both federal and state governments to collaborate with the national and state emergency management agencies to provide essential relief materials and ensure that affected individuals and families receive timely support.”
As Benue State and the other states in the region brace themselves for the release of excess water from the Lagdo Dam, the need for proactive emergency measures and efficient resource utilization becomes increasingly evident. The collaboration between government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and affected communities will be pivotal in mitigating the potential impact of this impending disaster.