Thursday 21st February 2019
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Buhari seeks more commitment on shrinking Lake Chad

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for more commitment from the international community on redirecting water to the Lake Chad.

Lake Chad
The climate variability impact on Lake Chad has also worsened the abundance and conservation status of biodiversity. Photo credit: UNEP

The president made the call when he received Letters of Credence from the High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Philip Baker, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday, January 14, 2019.

According to him, the tragedy of the shrinking Lake Chad will continue to fuel more illegal migrations, banditry and provide willing hands for terrorism since majority of the people have lost their means of livelihood.

He said: “In 1920’s, an academic rightly predicted that except there’s a redirection of water to Lake Chad, it will dry up.

“Now whenever I go for any global meeting or visit a country, I will always draw the world’s attention to the adverse effect of climate change on the lake, and the resulting negative effects.’’

The president urged the Canadian government to support the on-going efforts to divert water from the Congo River to the lake.

“Canada has the capacity to help us. The lake is now less than ten per cent of its normal size. A redirection will help our people from getting into the Mediterranean Sea,’’ he added.

He noted Nigeria and Canada had good relations dating back to the early 60’s when Nigeria gained independence, commending the country for “its vast resource utilisation and solid political background.’’

In his remarks, the Canadian High Commissioner commended Buhari for providing leadership in the country and championing the cause for the replenishing of the Lake Chad Basin.

He noted that the Canadian Governor General, Julie Payette, had presented a picture taken from space of the vanishing lake to the President when she visited recently.

Baker said more than 11,000 Nigerians were studying in Canada, with many residing in the country, assuring the President that majority of the students return to build and invest their knowledge in the development of Nigeria.

The Canadian High Commissioner said he would work towards improving relations between both countries on migration, education, entrepreneurship training, mining, renewable energy and Information Technology.

Also receiving Letters of Credence from the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Wendy Campbell Laing, President Buhari said Nigeria remains grateful for the training support for the military in the North Eastern part of the country since it started fighting Boko Haram.

The President congratulated Laing on her posting to the country, pointing out that Nigeria appreciated its relations with the United Kingdom, and would continue to pursue mutual interest in trade and economic issues.

In her remarks, the British High Commissioner said the visits of the Prime Minister, Theresa May and Prince of Wales, Charles Philip Arthur George, to Nigeria last year were to further consolidate relations, and look forward to Nigeria’s support after Brexit.

Laing said Britain would continue to support Nigerian troops in the North East and the people that were affected by the insurgency, assuring President Buhari that more attention would be given to non-oil trade exchange and strengthening of political ties.

President Buhari, who also received Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of Argentina to Nigeria, Maria Del Carmen Squeff, said the vast potentials in trade and agriculture for both countries could be further explored.

In her response, the Ambassador of Argentina noted that both countries must move beyond the level of signing agreements to ensuring that issues of trade, sports, investments and agriculture get practical follow up for mutual benefit.

Carmen Squeff said Argentina and Nigeria also have a lot to share on movie productions, sports like football and Polo, and festivals.

By Ismaila Chafe

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