In a correspondence dated August 21, the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigeria's civil protection agency, that Cameroon is about to release water from the Lagdo hydroelectric dam, located upstream on the Benue River. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims to have been informed of this operation by the Cameroonian government, via a note from its High Commission based in Abuja.
NEMA is thus instructed to take steps to limit the damage that could be caused by flooding following the release of that water. "According to the note, it is worth noting that when it is necessary to release water [from the dam], Lagdo Dam authorities will only release small, variable, and modulated amounts of water at a time to ‘mitigate’ and avoid the damage that the released water could cause along the Benue River Basin in Cameroon and Nigeria," the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote.
NEMA is also urged to take all the "necessary proactive measures to mitigate damage and raise the awareness of the population living in these areas to allow them to take all the required precautions.”
A few days ago, Eneo, Cameroon's electric utility, warned of the forthcoming release of surplus water from the Lagdo dam reserve due to heavy rains. This operation poses a risk of flooding for people living along the riverbed as far as Nigeria.
In previous years, states in eastern Nigeria were hit by severe flooding when the sluice gates of the Lagdo dam were opened. This attracted the wrath of local authorities, who accused Cameroon of causing the rise of the Benue River without warning Nigeria.