President Goodluck Jonathan
yesterday called on member states of Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to strengthen security along the border areas in order to tackle cross-border insurgency.
Jonathan made the call at the opening session of the 14th summit of the Heads of State and Government of the commission in N’Djamena, Chad. He said because of rising insurgency in the area, the approach to tackle insecurity should be holistic because of the wider sub-regional implications.
He noted that the perpetrators of the terror attacks, particularly in Nigeria, were taking advantage of the freedom of movement around the border areas.
He urged the member states to see the security threat beyond the confines of particular member state, but as a wider threat with sub-regional implications.
In addressing the security threat, Jonathan advocated the expansion of the mandate of the existing multi-national joint task force around the lake.
“It has become urgent to give a new mandate to the multi-national joint task force to include cooperation in dealing with such cross-border insurgency within its area of coverage.
“Our approach should be holistic and robust to address the general security issues around the common border areas,” he said.
Jonathan also underscored the need to give a new lease of life to the activities of the LCBC in moving it forward.
He re-affirmed the commitment of Nigeria to meet up its financial obligations to the commission and called on other member states to fulfill their financial promises.
“It remains very dear to our hearts and we will continue to lend every support in whatever is needed to carry pout more detailed study on environmental impact assessment as well as other needed hydraulics towards its full realization,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Executive Secretary of LCBC, Alhaji Sanusi Abdullahi said there was an urgent need to reverse the drastic shrinking of the lake in order to harness the resources of the basin in a sustainable manner.
He noted that the lake which served as a common heritage and source of livelihood to over 30 million inhabitants would go in to extinction if urgent measures were not taken.
About 18 million Nigerians out of the 30 million inhabitants depend on the lake. The lake provided water for the economic activities of the inhabitants who are mainly fishermen, farmers and cattle rearers.
On the water transfer project, Abdullahi, a Nigerian, said the study carried concluded that it technically feasible and remained the primary option to save the lake from extinction.
He said the project, if executed would increase the present level of the lake up to 1.5 metres with an area increase of about 7,500 sq km in four to five years.
Abdullahi said that the lake had shrunk from its approximated 25,000sq km coverage as at 1962 to present 1,300 sq km.