Nigeria shops for N314.8bn to recharge Lake Chad

Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama

Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama says Nigeria is in need of about one billion dollars (N314.8bn) for recharging of drying Lake Chad.

The minister told newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja that the fund would also take care of the humanitarian needs of persons affected by Boko Haram insurgency in North East Nigeria.

Onyeama said that an international conference of donor countries and agencies has been scheduled in Oslo, Norway, to raise the funds on Feb. 24.

He said the conference was being put together with the support of Germany and Norway, who galvanized the international community to support Nigeria’s efforts in addressing its humanitarian challenge.

Onyeama said that the U.S., international organisations and civil society organisations were also supporting the initiative, adding that they are committed to making the donor conference a success.

The minister said that it was expected that at least one billion dollars or more would be realised to take care of the needs of the people in the Lake Chad basin.

He described the conference as a great opportunity for the international community to make meaningful commitments towards funding humanitarian response activities in Nigeria.

He said that the conference would present an opportunity for Nigeria to present its case to the world on the humanitarian challenges it is facing.

“The Nigeria Government will want to present the scenario to the international community.

“We will want to also present the road map we have put in place to the international community on the enormous sacrifice and resources we have invested in it.

“The programme is on already, we will look at food security which is immediate threat.

“A large number of children and women are suffering; we have to deploy all the resources we have to address this,” he said.

According to him, the conference will also look at access to medicine and other basic facilities, which require huge investment.

He said the number being affected were up to 10.7 million people, which is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

“We will focus on humanitarian protection for the people of the region and the military gain in the area.

“There are civilians that are now coming up from the places occupied by Boko Haram.

“We are now beginning to see the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in the area and it becomes one of the world biggest humanitarian crisis today and the food challenges,” he said.

He said there was the need for jobs creation for the people in the area so as to address the challenge of restiveness and extremism ideology.

“In the context of job creation we have to look at Lake Chad that provides livelihood to 10 to 20 million people.

“Now that the Lake has shrunk to 10 per cent of its original size, we have to look at recharging the lake which is capital intensive.

“Political commitment is very important and getting the buyer is very important; we are going to this conference to convince other governments especially of industrialised countries to be generous,” he said.

While appreciating that other countries are also facing economic challenges, he expressed belief that if Nigeria stated its case they would be aware of the current economic situation.

He said that Nigeria was doing everything to show its commitment to the course.

 

 

Zainab Sa’id