The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) has listed insurgency, climate change, and non payment of annual contributions as challenges to full implementation of its programmes in the region.
LCBC Executive Secretary, Alhaji Sanusi Abdullahi, said this at a meeting of the Committee of Experts to the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Commission’s Council of Ministers in Abuja.
He said the non-payment of annual contribution by member states led to the inability to meet more than 70 per cent of its programmes.
He commended the Nigerian Government for meeting up its contribution through the payment of $1 million to promote the region.
He said since 2014, activities of insurgents prevented the commission from carrying out programmes, especially in the rural areas, while commending the efforts of the Multi National Joint Task force to stabilising the region.
“Our major challenges were the non-payment of annual contribution by member-states as and when due, and security challenges coupled with the effects of climate change in the Lake Chad Basin.
“Only Nigeria has settled its financial obligations to the commission, it is important to stress that member countries need to meet their financial obligations to earn the respect of our technical and financial partners.
“Thus, we were for most of the years not able to achieve 70 per cent of budget execution. From 2014, security challenges became worse resulting to preventing us from executing programmes for the rural communities”.
The executive secretary said the commission has been able to re-activate, expand and strengthen the remodelled Multi National Joint Task Force fighting to restore peace and sustain the Lake Chad basin.
According to him, the huge progress made towards the realisation of the inter-basin water transfer project to recharge the basin and save it from extinction is worthy of note.
Sanusi said the programme to rehabilitate and strengthen the resilience of the basin was ongoing despite challenges, expressing hope that it would pick up by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, said the objective of the meeting was to consider and approved the programme of activities for 2018.
He urged the committee to deliberate carefully to promote livelihood of the inhabitants of the basin.
Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Musa Ibrahim, said the upcoming international conference of the Lake Chad would draw global awareness on the socio-economic challenges arising from the Lake’s shrinkage.
He expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to passionately support policies and programmes for the sustainable development of the Lake.
He said that it would be an opportunity to deliberate on its threat to livelihoods including insecurity with the overall goal of developing a comprehensive programme and action plan.
The minister added that the conference would also inform stakeholders on the consensus on the different solutions to restore the lake.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government in partnership with the Commission and UNESCO will hold an international conference on the Lake Chad Basin from February 26 to 28, 2018.
By Tosin Kolade