A symposium on strategies to save Lake Chad has ended in Abuja with a warning that urgent steps must be taken to address the great environmental challenge faced in the Lake Chad and its impact on human development, biodiversity and ecology.
A communiqué issued at the end of the first Lake Chad Day noted that the impact of the receding lake on Nigeria, particularly its negative effect on the 67,000 hectares South Chad Irrigation Project (SCIP) which is currently operating at one per cent required urgent attention.
The symposium brought together top government officials, members of the academia, civil society, youth groups, women groups, the media and other stakeholders.
The participant urged the government of Nigeria and the Nigerian people to continue to take the lead in efforts which were ongoing to restore life and activity back to Lake Chad.
"There is the need for Nigeria, while working on the inter basin water transfer, to explore the possibility of its domestic intra basin water transfer activities for the sake of the Nigerian population who live around the lake," the participants said.
They also called for further studies on the "retention capacity" of the Lake and on the groundwater resources of the Basin to guarantee that water transfer efforts can be sustained as well as the need to explore the possibility of more direct water transfer efforts from the Congo River as a long term and perspective approach to Lake Chad water problem.
The communiqué called for more community ownership of activities currently on to bring water back to Lake Chad and more sensitization on more sustainable use of water.
According to the communiqué, the participants at the one day symposium urged the Federal Government to take measures to bring its efforts at saving the Lake Chad to the Nigerian private sector and the civil society; and to also establish a Standing Working Groups on Lake Chad, appoint Goodwill Ambassadors and convene an informal Meeting Groups across various stakeholders.