Director General of NEMA, Muhammed Sani-Sidi
By Paul Obi
With more impending danger of flood around the North-east part of the country, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Tuesday said the recent flood where about 10,000 persons where affected in Adamawa State was caused by release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroun.
Director General of NEMA, Muhammed Sani-Sidi, who made this known at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja, said upon receiving the news of an impending threat of flood in the case of release of water from the dam, NEMA contacted the states involved but not much was done to that effect.
“Upon receiving the report of the imminent release of this large volume of water from the Camerounian Embassy in Nigeria, we contacted all the governors of the frontline States of Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue and their respective SEMAs to warn them about the impending floods,” he said.
The Director General said: “We requested them to alert their communities-at-risk through relevant communication procedures especially the local media on the urgent need to avoid socio-economic activities along flood plains and relocate to safer grounds where necessary. The zonal coordinators for the North-east and North Central Zonal Offices of NEMA have also been directed to liaise with relevant stakeholders and the state SEMAs to sustain public sensitisation on the dangers of the floods and the need to take necessary proactive measures to avoid the risk to human lives and the loss of properties.”
“The steep elevation of the Adamawa Plateau coupled with the sudden release of excess waters on 24th August, 2012 has therefore created a great risk of inundation of the lowland communities of north eastern Nigeria, especially those located within the river Benue drainage basin.”
He explained that: “This sudden release of a large volume of cascading waters from the reservoir has put so many communities in this area at risk; threatened human lives, disrupted socio-economic activities, led to environmental degradation and large scale ecological dislocation. Report from the High Commission of the Republic of Cameroun received on 23rd August, 2012 indicated that if the trend of heavy rainfall experienced this year continues in the next few weeks, more water will be released from the reservoir till October this year.”
While commending the efforts of the Camerounian Embassy on the timely alert, the agency maintained that it will continue to “sustained support and cooperation to minimise disaster risks and build stronger and more resilient communities in line with our respective Standard Operational Procedures and Rules of Engagement.”
Reports indicated that the release of excess waters on August 24, 2012 created a great risk of inundation of the lowland communities of north eastern Nigeria resulting to the displacement of10,524 affected persons spread across 10 local government areas of the state.