8 March 2017

Chad: Nigeria Did Not Pledge $1 Billion to Recharge Lake Chad - Minister

The Federal Government says it did not pledge $1 billion for recharging of Lake Chad or humanitarian assistance to the region contrary to claims by the UN Security Council, UNSC.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a news conference on the visit of the UNSC delegation to Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that UNSC had on Monday called on Nigeria to scale up disbursement of $1 billion pledged at a conference.

The conference was on humanitarian assistance for victims of Boko Haram insurgency and rebuilding of the North-East as well as to recharge Lake Chad which held in Oslo in February.

A UNSC delegation to Nigeria had at a news conference in Abuja advised Nigeria to take the lead in disbursing its own pledge at the conference on the humanitarian assistance for Lake Chad region.

The minister, however, said that there was no pledge made by the Federal Government in that regard.

"There is no question of one billion dollars pledged that Nigeria has made in that respect. One billion dollars pledged for the Lake Chad is not correct.

"The sequence of the event is that there was a study to be done whether it was possible to recharge Lake Chad from Central Africa.

"Some years ago, the government put in $5 million for the study to be done and it has been done," he said.

Mr. Onyeama said that the study put the cost of recharging Lake Chad at $15 billion.

"Now, since this government came, we have got some other people looked at the study and there seems to be a lot of gaps at the study.

"We are now looking at having a comprehensive feasibility study carried out and that is going to cost about $15 million to do the study," he said.

According to him, the Minister of Water Resources and others are scheduled to meet on the kind of international donor conference later in the year for financial support for the project.

"Because $15 billion (cost of recharging) is a huge sum of money, it is clearly something we cannot afford."

Mr. Onyeama said that government may also be considering Public Private Partnership arrangement in terms of mobilising resources for the project.

"We are moving in that direction, but there is no question of $1 billion pledge that Nigeria has made in that respect," he said.

(NAN)

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