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Cameroon Lagdo Dam: FEMA calls for calm, promises quick intervention during emergencies

• Road blockers to humanitarian work would be charged to court • 112 is FEMA's emergency toll-free number


Cameroon Lagdo Dam: FEMA calls for calm, promises quick intervention during emergencies

Story from Vivian DANIEL, Abuja

The Director-General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Dr Abbas Idris, has urged Nigerians not to panic over the opening of Lagdo Dam in Cameroon.

The DG of FEMA made the statement in an exclusive telephone interview with Neptune Prime while assuring that the flood caused by the Dam release would not be worse as that of previous years because the country has been duly alerted and all relevant agencies are on standby to hit the ground running and do the needful when the need arises.

“The Cameroon Lagdo Dam release is nothing to worry about. My consolation to all Nigerians is that the government is on top of the situation. Everything is under control. There is no cause for alarm.”

READ ALSO: Lagdo Dam water release threatens flooding in Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, 8 others – NEMA

Abbas also said that even though the Cameroonian authority has begun the release of Lagdo Dam, it wouldn’t be at once but on a gradual basis, so, it would not be disastrous as many out there predict or are anxious that it would be.

“Actually, the Cameroon authority has been releasing the water already bit by bit as they promised instead of releasing it at once.

“All the agencies responsible at the Federal, State and Local Governments levels as well as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in charge are all on top of the situation.

“It will not be like what happened in previous years where there was no quick intervention or nothing much to mitigate the release of the water, but now that they have informed us, all hands are on deck to ensure the release does not cause major negative impacts on the low-lying communities that reside along the states that may be affected.

It could be recalled that the Cameroonian Government had written to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) last week informing them of its plans to release water from the Lagdo Dam.

It is important to note that states on the downstream of the River Benue such as Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Anambra, Enugu, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States risk severe flooding in the coming days.

Dr Abbas also added that those living along the river banks or the coastal areas would be evacuated to safer locations.

Meanwhile, in another development, Dr Abbas has also promised that FEMA will shorten their long-time 5-minute emergency response to 3 minutes.

He made this promise during a Radio programme titled, “TownHallwithVivian” aired on Silverbirds’ Rhythm94.7FM, Abuja at 3 pm WAT every Saturday while dissecting issues relating to the ‘Incessant/Persistent building collapse and other natural disasters in Nigeria, FEMA’s stance and the way forward.’

He said, “In other to meet up with the international best practices, we have the template and action plans developed over the years and we make sure to follow them through including the response time.

“Because if you have an emergency response agency that is not proactive, it is as good as having nothing. This is the reason we try to meet up with our 5-minute response time. And we are making efforts to reduce it to 3 minutes.”

Abbas did not hesitate to narrate some of the obstacles they face while carrying out emergency responses and how some Nigerians deliberately deny them access to the road use, while thinking that every vehicle siren heard in the street is coming from the executives, without them detecting which of the sirens is meant for what exactly as that of an ambulance, fire service truck, the VIPs etc are different.

He therefore urged Nigerians to cease such acts of blocking access to road use during emergencies or face the wrath of the law for being responsible for any avoidable crisis or lost of lives.

“Nigerians should understand we have the right of ways as soon as we are called upon for rescue or on any emergency response duty. We are trying to educate the public that our work is life-saving, we would start charging defaulters to the court of law, if anyone stands in our way and causes the death of those needing help of whatsoever”

Dr Abbas reiterated the need for Nigerians to always make use of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Toll-Free number ‘112’ as their men are available 24/7 to respond within or before 5 minutes.

“We are looking forward to making it to any emergency centre/location in 3 minutes. As we look forward to getting more needed equipment, whenever we hear about flooding and there is a warning of the affected areas, our men would move to the vulnerable areas to be on standby to do the needful,” he added.

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