The Director of Dams in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has vindicated Cameroon for releasing excess water that caused massive flood, affected about 22 states of the Federation and left thousands of Nigerians Homeless.
The Director during his visit to the project site of Otukpo multipurpose dam in Benue State, said the Cameroonian authorities did nothing wrong in releasing excess water from Lagdo dam that caused massive flooding in communities along River Benue banks in Nigeria. Adanu said: “The Cameroonians did nothing wrong. When there is excess water in a dam the safest thing to do is to release it in order to avoid breakage, which is more dangerous.”
I’m not in anyway surprised at the director’s remark, because the floods which occurred as a result of water released from Cameroons Lagdo dam could have been prevented about 30 years ago if the Government had been proactive.
Since 1982 when the dam was built in Lagdo town on the Adamawa Plateau in the Northern Province of Cameroon along the course of the Benue River, lowland communities in north-eastern Nigerian states (of Borno, Adamawa and Taraba) especially those located downstream within the River Benue drainage basin are usually flooded whenever water is released from the reservoir.
Following an agreement involving both nations in 1980, the Nigerian government was supposed embark on a similar venture,by building a dam along the course of the river, ostensibly to contain the gushing water released upstream from Lagdo Dam and curb flooding and attendant destruction of property and loss of lives.
In 1981, a shock-absorber dam was designed. Tagged the “Dasin Hausa Dam,” the multi-purpose facility was, besides cushioning the effect of the Lagdo Dam flooding also supposed to generate plenty of electricity.
But, alas! The he idea was taken by the government of the day with a pinch of salt. And, like several other viable proposals, it was ignored. Consequently, the flooding and destruction of property and loss of lives continued needlessly – albeit for decades.
So after about 30 years of continuous flooding, in what seems like a last minute effort at damage control, the Federal Government through the Director of Dams in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Emmanuel Adanu, has assured that construction of the Otukpo multipurpose dam in Benue State, will be completed in 2014.
The reason why the Government in Nigeria prefers “medicine-after-death,” and last minute solutions, I can never comprehend.