27 February 2018

Nigeria: The World Would Pay Dearly If Lake Chad Goes Into Extinction, President Warns

Photo: The Guardian
Receding Lake Chad.

Abuja — President Buhari has warned that the world would pay deadly if Lake Chad is allowed to go into extinction.

Buhari, who said this yesterday in Abuja while declaring open the International Conference on Lake Chad, also warned against unilateral decisions by member-countries to restore the lake.

He said: "The world would pay a steep prize if stakeholders choose to result to unilateral actions in the pursuit of selfish interest if we collectively fail to rise boldly to this challenge of recharging the lake."

The President, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, spoke on the theme "Saving the Lake Chad to revitalise the Basin's Ecosystem for Sustainable Livelihood, Security and Development."

Buhari, who noted that the co-operation and collaboration that underpin the efforts to save the Lake Chad should not be allowed to flap, stressed the need to put greater effort into the inclusion and integration of local communities and civil society groups in the design and implementation of the intervention for the restoration of the Lake Chad.

He lamented that the Lake, which is the sixth largest in Africa providing livelihoods for over 40 million people from Niger Republic, Cameroun, Chad, Nigeria and Central African Republic, had shrunk by over 90 per cent of its size from about 25,000 square kilometres to 1,350 square kilometres.

He said the shrinking of Lake Chad and intensification of desertification had caused several people who were dependent on the Lake for irrigation, farming and drinking water for cattle to be left to the refit.

The President noted that the menace had led to clashes in Nigeria between farmers and herdsmen, adding that the North-East where the Lake is, had been the epicentre of Boko Haram insurgency as the insurgents are able to draw recruits from desperate, idle but yet growing population.

Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, said saving the Lake Chad in a sustainable manner requires the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has announced the cancellation of tomorrow's Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting usually presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

A statement signed by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday, said that this week's FEC meeting was put off to enable President Buhari attend the high-level meeting of the International Conference on Lake Chad Basin scheduled to hold tomorrow.

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