The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), on Monday said Lake Chad was shrinking and had put sources of livelihood of 40 million persons under threat.
He said that the lake had shrank by more than 80 per cent.
Dambazau made this known in Abuja while declaring open “Policy Roundtable on Transition from an Environment Dominated by Military Operations to Post-Conflict Civilian-Led Governance in North-East and Lake-Chad Basin Region’’.
The roundtable, organised by Ministry of Interior in collaboration with United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) was aimed at deliberating key recommendations for establishing sustainable peace in North-East and Lake Chad.
“The North-East and the entire Lake Chad Basin has been ravaged by environmental degradation resulting in desertification due to climate change, which sees the advancement of the desert at the rate of 600m annually.
“A major consequence of this impact of climate change is the shrinking of the Lake Chad by more than 80 per cent.
“What this means is that the over 40 million people that depend on it for fishing, irrigation and other economic activities, are denied their main source of livelihood.
“It is now universal that climate change fuels conflicts, and this is evident in the whole of the Sahel region of Africa,’’ he said.
According to the minister, President Muhammadu Buhari is now leading the campaign for the recharge of the Lake Chad using the Congo River estimated to cost about 50 billion dollars.
He added that the discourse should make the issue prominent on the agenda for discussion, and commended Buhari for his leadership toward ensuring that Boko Haram insurgency was completely wiped out.
“Our security forces, especially the military, have made lots of sacrifice in this regard, including paying the supreme price.
“The frontline states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have without doubt, put tremendous efforts to fight the menace of Bokon Haram,‘’ he said.
Dambazau also thanked the respective governors of the frontline states.
He urge stakeholders to deliberate on the research findings and come up with recommendations and implementation strategies that would assist government in formulating policies on durable peace in the North-East.
Earlier, Amb. Zango Abdul, Country Manager USIP, noted that the Roundtable was the second among events USIP organised to discuss the outcome of a research it conducted on the prospects of military-to-civilian transition in the North-East.
Abdul said that the main objective of the discourse was to share the research findings with relevant stakeholders with a view to articulating policy options for sustainable peace in the region.
‘’In organising this roundtable with our partners, the Ministry of Interior and CDD, USIP is indeed reinforcing its vision of a world without violent conflict,’’ he said.
He said the USIP had a duty to join hands with government and stakeholders to reflect on how best to design an agenda for the North-East after years of severe devastation as a result of insurgency.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that stakeholders from the security and law enforcement agencies, the military and other stakeholders attended the session. (NAN)