The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has called for calm despite the 8.97 metres flow level as revealed by the Nigerian Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA), as concerns over the opening of Cameroonian Lagdo Dam deepen.

The agency disclosed that compared with the 2022 flow level, which was pegged at 8.80 meters, the level this year has recorded an increase of 17 metres.

Also, NISHA had provided that the flow level of River Niger system, especially at Niamey, Niger Republic, remains stable at a normal level of 4.30 metres and similarly, inland dams including Kainji, Jebba, and Shuroro reported consistent flow regimes.

Consequently, the Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Ahmed, said to cushion the effect of the flood, de-escalation of early warning messages to states; TV and radio appearances; TV and radio jingles and issuing press releases, clearing of drainages, readiness to embark on rescue mission, among others have been planned.

Speaking on Wednesday, in Abuja, at a stakeholders’ meeting on the release of water from the dam, Ahmed said the country has commenced release of water from the dam at the rate of 200 cubic metres per second which is about 18 million cubic metre of water per day. This release may result to all frontline states experiencing flooding in subsequent days and weeks.

He added that it was of great importance to also note that the Dam might commence full discharge of excess water in the event that the region experiences heavy amount of rainfall.

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“Coordination is a vital component of disaster management which needs to be given adequate attention to ensure timely and efficient response. To ensure effective coordination and implementation of various policies therefore, the agency has dimmed it fit to invite critical stakeholders to this Forum to deliberate on how to respond and mitigate the impeding flood we are currently being faced with, in Nigeria.

“The 2012 flood menace caused by the release of water from the Dam, which ravaged many state within the country will not be easily forgotten. You will recall that the 2022 flood disaster claimed 665 lives, displaced 2,437,411 persons and affected 4,476,867 persons.

“We have already started experiencing flood in some parts of the country this year with the rainfall. The release from the Lagdo Dam will only worsen the flood situation and therefore calls for concerted effort so as to address and mitigate the impact.

“Information available from the flow level of the River Benue at Nigerian Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) gauging station in Makurdi stood at 8.97 meters as of August 25th, 2023, compared to 8.80 meters on the same date in 2022.

“NIHSA has provided that the flow level of River Niger system, especially at Niamey, Niger Republic, remains stable at a normal level of 4.30 meters. Similarly, inland dams including Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro reported consistent flow regimes.”

The states on the downstream of River Benue are Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Enugu, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States.