By Tosin Kolade
Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Cameroonian Government to boost water resources management and notify the country before releasing excess water from its dam.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, said this was to prevent a repeat of the 2012 flood in the country.
The release of excess water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon led to flooding in some states in 2012.
Adamu said it was saddening to note that the effect of the 2012 flood in the country brought untold hardships to the victims, saying there would not be a repeat.
``Last month, we signed a MoU with the Cameroon government when they came on a state visit; it makes it mandatory on Cameroon to always inform Nigeria before it releases its excess water.
``This step is necessary so that Nigeria will also deal with its downstream issues, and to reduce disaster risks.”
He said the Federal Government was carrying out awareness campaigns, following Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) warning that floods will likely occur in eight major rivers and their tributaries in 2016.
The minister urged persons living in flood-prone areas to evacuate all drainage and clear their surroundings from filth to prevent flooding.
He said it was important for all tiers of government to embark on awareness on what to expect and what to do in eventualities to reduce disaster risks.
``We are calling on all stakeholders to sensitise the nation including farmers, decision and policy makers, to ensure timely and adequate preparedness toward any flood scenario.
``We are optimistic that this would prevent and mitigate its impact on nation’s economy.”
He said Nigeria has realised that it needed to create buffer dams for River Benue, which was the least damned river.
He said the creation of the Kashimbilla Dam in Taraba, was a major step towards flood prevention and promoting irrigation facilities for water and food security.
He said the challenge of insufficient funds was hindering the construction of more dams, urging Nigerians to bear with the federal government and its policies of restructuring the country.
``Nigerians have to bear with us because dams are very expensive to construct, in terms of time, money, design and construction itself.
``With the cooperation we have gotten from Cameroon, we will be fully notified and take care of the villages, communities along the river.”
Adamu said the multi-purpose dam project is one of the top priority projects to be completed under this administration.