Nigeria: FEC Considers $14.5bn Proposal to Save Lake Chad

Receding Lake Chad.
26 July 2018

Abuja — The Federal Executive Council (FEC) wednesday in Abuja considered the report of an international conference held on Lake Chad earlier in the year, which proposed $14.5 billion for the rescue of Lake Chad from extinction.

This development is coming as the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has promised that the battle of wits between the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and the Minister of Labour, Employment, Chris Ngige would be amicably resolved.

Also the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the comment credited to Ngige could be fake news, stating that only yesterday, there was fake news on the social media credited to him, where he was quoted as attacking Oshiomhole, which he said he never did.

Briefing journalists at the end of the weekly FEC meeting in the State House, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, recalled that the conference was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari along with Gabon and Angolan presidents.

According to him, it was resolved at the event that the only way Lake Chad, which has been progressively drying up, could be rescued from totally vanishing is to transfer water to the lake from Congo Basin at the cost of $14.5 billion.

"Many presidents have always been abreast of issues and updates on what we are doing on the proposed inter-basin project which was the highlight of the conference, whereby there was a consensus to save Lake Chad from extinction and there was a consensus that inter-basin water transfer from Congo basin is the most viable option that we have at the moment. We have an estimate of $14.5 billion for the implementation," Adamu said.

Adamu also said the council approved a memorandum from his ministry seeking the augmentation of the cost of an irrigation project from the initial N122 million to N977.7 in Mangu, Plateau State, with an additional duration of six months for its completion.

Also yesterday, the Minister of Information, Mohammed, promised that the battle of wits between Oshiomhole and Ngige would be amicably resolved.

Answering questions on the rift while briefing journalists at the end of the FEC meeting, Mohammed said if it is confirmed that both men are indeed engaged in a fight, the matter would be accordingly resolved.

Both Oshiomhole and Ngige have engaged each other in a battle for supremacy over the failure of the latter to constitute the board of the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) meant to be chaired by Oshiomhole's friend, Frank Kokori.

Oshiomhole accused Ngige of flouting the earlier directive of President Buhari that all boards of parastatals should be constituted, and consequently gave him a seven-day ultimatum last week to carry out the directive or face the music.

Upon the expiration of the ultimatum this week, Oshiomhole threatened to expel Ngige and any other minister found culpable in a similar act from the party and equally force them out of the cabinet.

But in a swift reaction, Ngige described Oshiomhole as an ignorant person who was only exposing his ignorance.

Ngige spoke yesterday with the State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said he was not afraid of suspension.

The minister gave an indication that he was part of those who founded the party before bringing the likes of Oshiomhole in.

Ngige maintained that the board of the NSITF was yet to be inaugurated because of reports of diversion of funds to the tune of N48 billion.

When asked when he was going to comply and if he was not afraid of suspension from the party, Ngige said, "How? In a party that we formed and brought them in?

"The man (Oshiomhole) is talking out of ignorance. I am not afraid of suspension."

When asked about the reaction of the government to the trend, Mohammed said the accusation ascribed to the minister could be fake news but if found to be true, the rift between them would be settled.

"Two weeks ago, we launched a campaign against fake news and it's one of the most dangerous phenomenal we have today. We don't know who said what until we know and the ministers confirm these statements credited to them. It is really difficult to comment on it. What I can assure you of is that if there is any problem between the party chairman and any of our ministers, it will be resolved," Mohammed said.

Also reacting to the question, Amaechi denied attacking Oshiomhole.

"How do you know that it's true. I saw on social media this afternoon (wednesrday) where they said l said that the chairman is a bad luck. I never said so. I have never said any such thing. They quoted me that l was attacking the chairman," Amaechi said.

It was gathered that President Buhari was not happy with the comment credited to his party's national chairman where he said that if the president was condoning indiscipline from his cabinet, he was not going to condone it.

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