The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, has urged the international community to fully support Nigeria’s quest to save Lake Chad from extinction and revive its potentials.
Adamu, who made the call in an interview in New York, said it was important to lend his voice to President Muhammadu Buhari’s call to revive Lake Chad.
Adamu was in New York to attend the just-concluded 2023 UN Water Conference.
“If you recall from the beginning of this administration, President Buhari has made this call in several fora, especially at all the engagements during Conference of Parties (COP) on Climate Change and his interactions with world leaders.
“It is a consistent call because you know the problem we have in the Northeast, problem of Boko Haram. It has been clearly linked to the lack of opportunities and abject poverty around the Lake Chad that was caused by the shrinking of the Lake. It sank as low as 10 per cent of its storage capacity 50 years ago,” he said.
The minister said the shrinking of the Lake had impacted negatively on the source of livelihood of the people leaving in the area, adding that more than 40 million people were affected.
Adamu said that all the opportunities for finishing, farming, irrigation, grazing were all lost, and the lack of opportunities had caused poverty in that area, giving room for breeding ground for Boko Haram fighters.
“From the security perspective, it’s very important to make this call and from economic development perspective, loss of jobs and poverty. Also, there is climate change issue and desertification,’’ he said.
The minister also said that Nigeria had recently ratified the instrument of Accession to the UN Water Convention and had submitted it at the conference.
Adamu said Nigeria, under the leadership of President Buhari, had acceded to the Water Convention as an instrument to strengthen the existing transboundary commitments under the Niger Basin Authority and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
Nigeria shares at least one transboundary water body with each of its neighbouring states.
The Lake Chad Basin is the largest inland drainage area in Africa and covers an area of 2,434,000 km2, equal to eight per cent of the total area of the African continent.
The basin extends through Algeria, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Central Africa Republic, Chad, and Sudan. In Nigeria, the basin drains about 20 per cent of the country.
Nigeria is also home to about 80 per cent of the 100 million people residing in the basin of the River Niger, which crosses Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of Guinea.
President Buhari ratified the Accession to the Convention in December 2022 and Nigeria also ratified the Amendment to Article 25 and 26 of Nov. 23, 2003.
By Cecilia Ologunagba