Nigeria’s emergency management agency says it’s keeping close watch on river levels, following the decision in neighboring Cameroon to release water from the Lagdo Dam. Humanitarian affairs minister Betta Edu has recommended that frontline communities living in about a dozen states along the Benue River should begin preparing for high water, in some cases including evacuation.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Nigeria says there is no immediate cause for flooding concern but that could change in the coming days. Gauges have shown a slight increase at Makurdi on the Benue, where the above marker is located, and river levels are stable on the Niger River in neighboring Niamey. The two rivers converge at Lokoja in Nigeria’s central Kogi state and the region is historically prone to flooding.
Nigeria’s inland dams at Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro all had consistent flow rates, according to a Radio Nigeria report.
Cameroon says the water releases are necessary because of heavy rains in the country’s north. In a letter sent to Nigerian officials last week, officials in Yaoundé said the releases would be measured and as small as possible. Last year, Lagdo Dam releases led to fatalities along the Benue.
Meanwhile, in Niger, a US$800 million hydropower dam project has been idled by the July coup to replace President Mohamed Bazoum. China Gezhouaba Group declared force majeure and said it can’t continue in the current climate, in part because of economic sanctions placed on Niger by World Bank and other entities.
The new hydropower dam issues come as some urge Africa to reconsider its reliance on hydropower. A new study led by Politecnico di Milano researchers in Italy finds that about two-thirds of future dam projects on the African continent are no longer worth the investment due to climate change and lower solar and wind energy costs, though projects in the Niger River basin may continue to have value.
Image: NEMA Nigeria