By Olisa Ifeajika
#TrackNigeria: The Chairman, Council of Ministers, Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), Mr Suleiman Adamu, says five billion dollars (about N1.84 trillion) is required to recover the Basin’s areas affected by Boko Haram crisis.
The chairman made this known at the 64th Ordinary Session of the Council on Thursday, in N’djamena.
He said that the amount would cover the first phase of the areas’ recovery project, which was part of LCBC’s Regional Stabilisation Strategy.
To raise the funds, he said that the Commission must take advantage of new funding opportunities “as demonstrated by most of our partners for effective and inclusive” implementation of the stabilisation strategy to recover the Basin’s areas.
According to him, mobilising such a budget requires a huge effort in terms of advocacy, monitoring and responsiveness.
Adamu, who is Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, said that with the leadership and determination of Heads of State and Government in the region, solutions were gradually being put in place to rejuvenate the basin.
He expressed optimism that in the long run, “our Basin will once again become this vast and highly productive ecosystem, providing livelihoods for riverside communities and representing a food export pole for the entire Basin.
He noted that the Council’s meeting came at a time when terrorists in the Lake Chad region had renewed their onslaught aimed at undermining “the territorial integrity of our states and security of our peoples”.
Adamu, however, said that the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) of LCBC and the national armed forces of member-countries were working hard to completely eradicate the insurgents.
He added that while the initiatives with security, military and humanitarian dimensions had a major role to play in bringing about peace, security and stability, they were still insufficient on their own.
“It is, therefore, more necessary than ever to implement the Regional Stabilisation Strategy for the resilience and recovery of the areas of the Lake Chad Basin affected by the Boko Haram.
“In addition to the socio-economic development dimensions, this must also include the educational and religious components, with their major role in spreading the culture of peace, tolerance and moderation.
“Our fight against extremism must also have as its essential purpose, to provide young people and women with an open education rooted in the authentic values and standards of our society,” he said.
Adamu stated that treading the recovery path would lead to entrepreneurship and job creation which would protect the people from the temptations of extremism.
The chairman also charged the Council to focus on implementing the objectives of sustainable development as defined at the International Conference on Saving Lake Chad held in Abuja in February, 2018.
He said in addition to the promise of a better life for “our populations, the revitalisation of Lake Chad and the restoration of these resources are the guarantees of greater peace, security, progress and development in the region’’.
He recalled that at the conference in Abuja, the African Union approved the Inter-Basin Water Transfer Project as a Pan-African project aimed at restoring Lake Chad for sustainable development.
He said that the project, which would also restore security and peace in the region, was a win-win partnership for the Congo Basin and Lake Chad.
Adamu disclosed that the partners had committed themselves to achieving objective of the synergy, saying it would produce hydroelectric power, build roads and river infrastructure and promote irrigation for the sustainable development.
He said that the development would extend to economic integration, peace and security in Central and West Africa and in the Sahel in particular. (NAN)