Anxiety in Lagos, Benue, Delta as Cameroon Opens Lagdo Dam

Some states said yesterday they had started taking steps to stem the tide of severe flooding that may result from release of water from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon.

The Cameroonian government had in a letter addressed to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, weekend, warned of its intention to release water from the Lagdo dam and asked the agency to take precautionary measures.

However, states, some of which are on the frontline of flooding caused by release of water from the dam, said they had already started taking steps to prevent loss of lives and destruction of properties. Such states, including Lagos, Benue and Delta, have also asked people living in flood-prone areas to relocate to higher grounds.

Reacting to the alert from Cameroon government yesterday, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, assured of the state government’s preparedness to promptly tackle any possible emergency that could arise from the impending flood in the state.

According to him, the state government has provided LASEMA with 144 units of facilities that could accommodate 5,000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the event of any emergency.

He said: “Lagos is well prepared. As you can see, LASEMA has changed from management to holistic emergency management.

What we mean here is that we have moved into the improved strategy of clearing canals and ensuring local governments have their local response, called Environmental Guard.

“The purpose is to ensure effective clearing of tertiary drainages and environmental gang clearing the secondary drainage, thereby complementing each other simultaneously.

“We have met with the 57 local government chairmen on the need to put all primary emergency responders on alert. We are fine-tuning and strengthening our local response mechanism.

‘’We have carried out risk analyses, resource mappings, opened directories in each council to know the vulnerable people in terms of emergency situation. All these measures are geared towards ensuring swift, prompt, and effective response.

“We are carrying out enlightenment and sensitization programmes to get residents prepared across the councils.

“The type of flood we have in Lagos called flash floods disappears within 30 minutes and one hour due to improved infrastructure and machinery in place. We are prepared.”

Benue govt directs residents to vacate floodplains, and evacuate blocked drainages.

Also reacting, Benue State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, directed all those living on flood plains across the state to vacate such places to safer areas. Executive Secretary of the agency, Sir James Iorpuu, issued the warning yesterday while reacting to the alert from the Federal Government to states on the impending flood, following notification from Cameroonian authorities of the release of water from the Lagdo dam on Benue River due to heavy downpour in Northern Cameroon.

Speaking through the Head of Administration of the agency, Mr. Donald Komgbebda, the executive secretary said the agency is intensifying its awareness campaign to have the people prepared for the impending flood.

He said: “What we are doing now is to intensify the awareness campaign across the state to ensure that all those on flood plains vacate such areas.

“We also have plans to take steps to mitigate the affect of the flood on the people but for now the priority is to get the people to safer places.

“Though we also have contingency plans and we will not allow our people be subjected to untold hardship following the flood.

‘’All stakeholders in the matter will be mobilised to ensure that all hands are on deck to take actions to mitigate the impact of the impending flood.”

Governor Hyacinth Alia recently also appealed to all those on the banks of River Benue and flood plains to vacate those areas.

The governor, who spoke while flagging off the distribution of food and nonfood items donated by the National Emergency Management Agency,2022 flood disaster in the state, also appealed to residents to immediately commence clean-up of gutters and waterways in order to help mitigate effect of the flood in the state.

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