1 March 2018

Nigeria: Buhari Seeks Global Support to Revitalise Lake Chad, Experts Disagree On Funding

Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the global community to urgently support effort to save Lake Chad from drying up.He lamented that the lake that used to provide livelihood for over 45 million people living in the basin is gradually going into extinction leading to increased migration and insecurity in the region.

Buhari, who stated this in his welcome remarks during the high-level meeting of the International Conference on Lake Chad, solicited for continued collaboration and support to restore Lake Chad.He said the effort would be more productive with international support technically and financially.

"We must treat the issues of the Lake Chad with the urgency they deserve and show the needed political commitment towards reviving the Lake. Together, let us share this mission of rescuing the Lake Chad Basin with a renewed vigour, determination and international collaboration as our inaction or delay will continue to accelerate the deteriorating standard of living of millions of our people with dire consequences on our continent and the world at large.

"The time to act is now. The time to bail out the region is now. The time to show our humanity is now. I thank you for what you have done in the past. I thank you in anticipation of what together you and us can do now and in the future," he stated.Besides, President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, said his country would contribute to the revitalisation of the Lake through the establishment of a monitoring system for the lake and the surrounding landscape.

Meanwhile, experts have differed from the way and manner the governments of Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria made their financial obligations for reclamation of Lake Chad.They spoke yesterday at the just-concluded International Conference on Lake Chad in Abuja.Mr. Jerome Mahode of Central African Republic (CAR) said deliberating on intervention on inter-basin water transfer is important, but Heads of government should take into consideration the cause, effects and benefits of the project.

He, therefore, warned that "we must be very careful as far as funding the Lake Chad water transfer because we don't want to go on spending billions of dollar without getting the best result."

Another speaker, Prof. Kenneth Iwugo of Nasarawa State University, says Africa has a lot of scientists doing well and we never utilise them for development in the case of drying Lake Chad and other gigantic projects on the continent.

Also, Prof. Diuto Esiobu of University of Florida, expressed disappointment that the lake is drying up to 10 per cent of its original size due to lack of political will to fund the project.She said the situation breeds crisis, crimes, food insecurity, loss of our God's given heritage such as fish, insects, animals, fauna, adding that the world is in the verge of losing a lot of more living organisms there.

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