Imminent Volcanic Eruption

Daily Trust (Abuja)
March 16, 2005

Zainab Alimi, Political Reporter (reps)

Worried by the looming disaster posed by the imminent volcanic
eruption from Lake Nyos in the Republic of Cameroun and the danger it
poses to some parts of Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Cross River States,
the House of Representatives yesterday urged the federal government to
liaise with the Republic of Cameroun and relevant international
agencies to find urgent and lasting solution to the impending disaster.

The House also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),
to be more proactive in disaster prevention just as it requested the
federal ministry of environment to ascertain the scope and imminence
of the explosion of the lake and furnish the House with an immediate

Also, the House committee on Emergency Preparedness was mandated to
liaise with its Cameroon counterparts to fashion out ways in which the
accumulated poisonous gas in the lake could be controlled.

Moving a motion on the impending catastrophe, Hon. Terngu Tsega,
pointed out that the current volume of gas in the lake amounts to 300
million cubic meters of poisonous carbon dioxide which is over and
above the volume that precipitated a similar explosion of the lake in

He also noted that about 1,800 people died in large scale volcanic
eruptions in 1954, 1982, 1985 and 1986, with 843 hospitalised while
there was widespread devastation of farmlands and vegetation in
affected areas due to massive emissions of dangerous gaseous
substances at very high velocity.

He said that the Adamawa state government has received warning of the
impending disaster from Cameroon just as NEMA and its Benue-State
counterpart also warned of the imminent explosion in a newspaper
publication (ThisDay, February 2, 2005) and reinforced in a letter
addressed by the Benue State House of Assembly to its representatives
in Abuja.

Stressing the need for urgent action on the matter, Hon. Tsegba said
that it is better to save the lives of people in the affected areas
before the disaster strikes, adding that considering the option of
seeking scientific aid through a group of foreign scientists who have
said that the problem could be tackled with political will is not out
of line owing to the importance and urgency of the matter.

Contributing to the motion, members including Hon Halims Agoda who
seconded the motin, Hons. Adeyemi Oluwole, Tambuwwal, Mao Ohuabunwa,
Adeyanju, Hameed Safara, Datti Baba Ahmed, Dave Salako and Jerry
Ugokwe, argued that NEMA and other related agencies in the country
should be made to be more pro-active to check the curative rather than
the preventive orientation of the country to disasters.