By Adewunmi Abodunrin,
In a bid to proffer solutions on saving the drying Lake Chad, the presidency, in conjunction with other Heads of States and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission is planning to have a International Conference scheduled to hold from 26th to 28th February, 2018 in Abuja.
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, disclosed this on Thursday, through a statement made available by the Director for Information and Public Relations Unit, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Margaret Umoh when the United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Adamu noted that the objective of the conference is to find lasting solutions in recharging the drying up of the basin, while stressing that in the next 50 to 100 years from hydrological perspective, the lives of the people of that region who depend on the lake as their source of livelihood would be in danger as the Lake faces extinction.
The Minister proposes for cheaper and workable solutions to saving the Lake from extinction. According to him, the MoU signed between the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the POWERCHINA International Group Limited in April 2016 to save Lake Chad from drying up, can be actualized by the transfer of water from the Congo Basin to Lake Chad Basin.
Adamu said that study done by POWERCHINA, shows that it is technically feasible to transfer water from river Congo to Lake Chad thereby increasing the level of the Lake. This, according to him would halt the receding of the Lake and the drying of the north basin due to climate change.
Speaking further, he called for more workable solutions that may be cheaper than the Inter-basin water transfer.
On cooperation between Nigeria and the UN on the re-integration of the people of the North East ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency, the Minister said part of the ministry’s efforts in cushioning the effects of the insurgency in that region under this present administration in the past two years has been by budgeting about 1 billion naira annually to water supply and sanitation facilities for the IDPs nationwide
The Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed had said that the purpose of the high-level mission which was an informal consultation on political, human rights, humanitarian and development issues will help scale up UN presence in the North East in particular and Nigeria in general.
She said UN is more committed in the re-integration process on-going in the North East as well as in the planned Conference of Saving Lake Chad that is scheduled for February, 2018. She charged Heads of States and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission to consider passing the resolutions of the Conference in a communiqué to the African Union (AU) for further action.
“Saving the Lake Chad is a sustainable development issue and the UN is ever ready in addressing such an issue. All hands must be on deck in saving the Lake from extinction. We need to know how it can work and not how it cannot work,” Amina said.