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International water issues

Main transboundary rivers flowing into Nigeria are the Niger river, flowing from Benin and Niger, and the Benue river, flowing from Cameroon, which joins the Niger river at Lokoja at approximately 400 km north from the estuary. Nigeria also shares Lake Chad with Niger, Cameroon and Chad (Table 5). In addition to being part of the Niger Basin Authority and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria is also part of two binational joint commissions. The Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission initiated the Maiduguri Agreement signed on 18 July 1990, and amended 5 October 1998, dealing with development, conservation and utilization of the water resources of the Komadougou-Yobe sub-basin in particular. The Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission was established after Lake Chad receded in order to settle the conflict over the blurred border between the two countries. A protocol to exchange daily data on flows, especially release from the Lagdo dam, and coordinate large infrastructures was also signed with Cameroon.

There are issues with these transboundary basins, mostly associated with the development of dams in the upstream countries Niger and Cameroon:

  • The Kandaji dam, under construction since May 2012 on the Niger river in Niger, will have a capacity of 1 600 million m│. The constant release of 120 m│/s will be beneficial for improving the flow condition in the Niger river in dry season. However, if the water stored behind the dam will be used for irrigation in Niger in the future, the total inflow into Nigeria will be somehow reduced.
  • The Lagdo dam, constructed in 1982 on the Benue river in Cameroon, has a capacity of 8 000 million m│. It is located about 100 km upstream of the Nigerian border. No protocol for downstream users was adopted before construction. Since its operation siltation of the river bed and water infrastructures downstream in Nigeria increased and some fadama cultivation in eastern Nigeria was lost. On the other hand it also controls floods and improves the river environment thanks to continuous release of a minimum flow, especially during dry season. But the sudden water release during flood in 2012 may have caused greater damages around Yola near the Benue river in Nigeria, 50-100 km downstream the border with Cameroon (FMWR, 2014).

Transboundary groundwater is limited in sedimentary rock area. In four of the hydrological areas (HA) of Table 3 transboundary groundwater flow exist: Sokoto (HA1), Upper Benue (HA3), Western Littoral (HA6) and Lake Chad (HA8).


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       Quote as: FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
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