Nigerian authorities have issued flood alerts to several states across the country following the recent release of water from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam.
At least nine states in Nigeria, which have communities along the banks of the Benue River, may be affected by the water release, which is expected to last until the end of October, Mustapha Ahmed, head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told reporters in the national capital of Abuja on Saturday.
The release of water from Lagdo Dam has long been a cause for concern in Nigeria, as it results in the swelling of the Benue River, which traverses multiple Nigerian states, including Adamawa and Taraba in the northeast region, as well as Benue and Kogi in the central region.
Ahmed said the recent release had already led to the displacement of local communities and could lead to further destruction of crops and other infrastructure. “The NEMA has been alerted to the sudden increased inundation of riverine communities and farmlands along the banks of the Niger River in the past 48 hours,” the emergency relief agency official said, citing a situation report that confirmed the upsurge of water along the flood plains of the Benue River.
He said that crops, lands and valuable infrastructure are at risk of being washed away by the floodwaters, adding that the situation is expected to be witnessed in downstream southern states, including Anambra, Edo, Delta and Bayelsa, as the Benue and Niger rivers flow to the Atlantic Ocean through Nigeria’s delta region.
So far, a total of 28 people have been confirmed killed due to flooding in Africa’s most populous country this year, with 159,157 others seriously affected, according to data from the NEMA. A total of 48,168 people are displaced in 13 states across the country.
Due to the recurring disaster, the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency earlier warned citizens living in flood-prone areas to take precautionary measures to protect lives and property.