New Telegraph

February 23, 2024

Minister disagrees with Senators over cause of flooding

…says Cameroonian dam not responsible, though country notified Nigeria 24 hours after opening spillway

…blames calamity on heavy rainfall, silted riverbeds, building on flood plains lNEMA: 4,885 households ravaged by flood in Ogun

Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has debunked widespread speculations that the release of water from the Lagdo Dam in the Republic of Cameroon has been responsible for the massive flood currently ravaging many communities in Nigeria.

Adamu, who gave his opinion during a budget defence session with the Senate Committee on Water Resources, said that the flood wasdueto heavyrainfalland the over flow of water from the Katsina Ala River and other tributaries into River Benue. The explanation followed a sharp disagreement which erupted when Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi Central), raised the issue of floods in the country during the budget defence session and sought to know what efforts the Ministry of Water Resources was making to ameliorate the impact of the disaster.

The minister argued that thecommonbelief amongNigerians that the annual flood was caused by the opening of a dam in Cameroon was wrong. Adamu said it was also not true that the Cameroonian government usually informs the government of Nigeria before opening their dam and emptying its water into River Benue.

According to him, it was only recently and after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed that such protocols took effect. “There have been insinuations that every year the Cameroonian authorities inform us when they are releasing the water; that is not true. Ittookalotof effortfrom us to get an MoU for them to be informing Nigeria about releases. Thatwasdonewhen President Paul Biya came here on a state visit in 2016. They have been attempting since 2012, but it wasn’t done.

“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. When the lawmakers demanded to know what happened to the proposed Dasin Hausa Dam in Adamawa State, which was meant to mitigate the effects of water released from Lagdo Dam,the minister said that the project was still on the drawing board. Adamu however, disclosed that even if the dam was built, it would not be of much help since, according to him, the water released from Lagdo Dam contributes only about one percent (1% ) to the flood challenge in Nigeria.

“You cannot stop flooding, it’s a natural phenomenon; just like you cannot stop earthquakes. You know every year I come out to do my annual flood outlook. We have been doing it annually and we tell Nigerians down to the local government where we feel flood will happen. We tell them what measures to take. States and local authorities should stop giving people permits to build on watercourses.

“People should not be building illegally on water courses. If you have a water course, if you think that you will see it dry for 10 or 20 years, it doesn’t mean in 100 years water will not come. “Once that place has been a water course, maybe in another 10 years, 20 years, water will still come back to flow into that place. Town planning authorities in the states and local councils should ensure that they plan their towns and cities properly. We will also make sure we provide adequate drains well before the next rainy season. They are all clogged withsand and garbage. They should be cleaned up. That is the way to go,” he concluded.

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