The Federal Government of Nigeria announced on Tuesday that the release of vast amounts of water from the Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, which had sparked concerns of extensive flooding across 11 Nigerian states since August 14, 2023, has been halted.
This development was made public during a press briefing in Abuja, focusing on the water releases from the Lagdo Dam in August 2023. The government confirmed that the dam ceased its water discharge by 11 a.m. on Monday, August 28, 2023.
Clement Nze, the Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, a Federal Government body, shared this information with the media. He elaborated that in Nigeria, every June marks the commencement of a new hydrological year in the River Niger Basin. This basin encompasses nine countries in West and Central Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.
Nze highlighted that Nigeria, under the Niger Basin Authority headquartered in Niamey, Niger Republic, is downstream of all these countries. He noted,
“From July to October every year, we typically witness heavy rainfall, resulting in flooding and flood-related disasters in many parts of Nigeria. The Lagdo Dam is situated on the Benue River within this basin.”
He continued, “Cameroonian authorities began releasing water from the Lagdo Dam at 10.10 a.m. on August 14, 2023. This action was communicated to the NIHSA’s Director-General on August 23, 2023, by the dam’s overseeing Cameroonian hydrologist.”
The water discharge began at a rate of 200 cubic meters per second, equivalent to approximately 18 million cubic meters daily. The hydrologist from Cameroon indicated that this release would persist for a week, given the reservoir’s current level. The official assured, “We’ll monitor the situation. If there’s no significant inflow, we’ll shut the spillway soon. Everything is under control.”
By August 25, 2023, the water discharge had decreased to 50 cubic meters per second, a standard reservoir operation rate, posing no flooding threat downstream. Nze confirmed,
“On August 28, 2023, at 5.46 pm, the dam’s hydrologist informed the NIHSA Director-General that water spilling had been stopped at 11.00 am that day.”
Nze also mentioned a stable flow in the River Benue system, stating, “The water level at our Makurdi station in Benue State is currently 9.01m, compared to 9.68m recorded on the same date in 2022.”