Over 30m lives threatened in Lake Chad Basin

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday lamented the shrinking of the Lake Chad Basin.

He said the development is a threat to the lives of over 30 million people who get water from the lake’s region.

The Vice President admitted that the region was still facing international crises that should be contained through collaboration, cooperation and synergy.

Osinbajo said climate change and multiple challenges within the Lake Chad region have brought about violent contests for food and water, and other means of livelihoods.

He noted that the challenges within the region had raised global concerns as President Muhammadu Buhari consistently drew the attention to the crises in the region beyond the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU).

The Vice President made the remarks while declaring open the maiden edition of the Annual International Forum on the Development of the Lake Chad Region.

The event was organised by the North East Development Commission (NEDC) at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.

He said in the domain of military actions and war against terrorism, it was necessary to secure the buy-in of regional stakeholders to tackle the problems.

Osinbajo assured Nigerians that the present administration hoped to build stronger ties, develop new strategies and vigour to improve the lives of the people in the areas.

He added that there is need for social cohesion, peaceful co-existence and dialogue amongst all the people for meaningful developments to be achieved in the region.

NEDC Managing Director Mohammed Alkali described the situation in the region as worrisome.

He said climate change and insurgency have caused the displacement of over 2.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The agency chief said while the forum aimed to look at various solutions to the challenges, the Boko Haram insurgency alone had affected over 23 million people in the four countries surrounding the Lake Chad Region, namely Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

Alkali added: “The Lake Chad Region Recovery and Development Project (PROLAC), conceived in 2018, is designed to contribute to the recovery of the Lake Chad region through a set of investments, focused on supporting regional coordination, knowledge and monitoring, connectivity and rural mobility and agricultural livelihoods that seek to address the underlying fragility as well as the acute humanitarian and forced displacement crisis in the four countries.

“In October 2019, the Nigerian Government requested to be included in the PROLAC. Given that MCRP was already implementing successfully and had compatible aims, activities and geographic coverage, Nigeria and the World Bank agreed to prepare a restructuring and additional financing of $176 million for MCRP, to bring the country into the regional project.”


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