Environmentalist calls for construction of buffer dams along River Niger

Mr Idowu Salawau, an environmental
consultant to the Ministry of Environment
has called for the construction of ‘buffer
dams’ along the plains and tributaries of
River Niger to address the over-flow of the
river that has led to devastating flood in
settlements along the river.
Mr Salawau claimed that the dam will absorb
the excess water that will be released from the
major dams. “The federal government should
look at the pathway of River Niger and look for
where buffer dams can be constructed to absorb
the water that will be released from the dam.”
The environmentalist made the
recommendation on our breakfast morning
show; Sunrise Daily, where he noted that the
ravaging flood in central Nigeria is caused by
both man-made and natural disasters that can
never be averted but well managed.”
According to Mr Salawau, the water released
from the dams must be released because if the
dams are allowed to burst, the devastation will
much more overwhelming that what we have
now, “so buffer dams should be constructed
along the flood plains to absorb the excess
He enjoined the federal government to
permanently relocate the displaced people who
were residing along the flood plains and come-
up with “a serious 10-years flood management
programme” for the flood plain areas.
He also decried the poor funding of the
Environment Ministry, saying “the Ministry of
Environment is poorly funded due to its
inadequate budget.” The environmentalist
revealed that the cost of the cheapest buffer-
dam will cost between N6-N8 billion.
Also speaking on the programme from our Abuja
studio, the Chairman Senate Committee on
Environment, Mr Bukola Saraki, noted that while
calls are being made increased funding for the
Ministries and Agencies, “laws must be enacted
to strengthen the capacity and funding of rescue
agencies” he said.
“This will allow them to be better funded and
operate better”, adding that “they cannot
perform miracles if they are poorly funded” he
The lawmaker decried the situation where
officials of the Nigeria Emergency Management
Authority (NEMA) have to wait for oil companies
to give them helicopters and boats before they
can move to disaster zones.
Senator Saraki also called for issues of the
environment to be featured on the front burner
of national issues and not relegated to the back
until disasters as this strike. “We must re-
prioritise our allocation of resources” he added.:

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