President Buhari: 30 million lives adversely affected by shrunken Lake Chad

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated that about 30 million people are adversely affected by a shrunken Lake Chad, which is now just about ten per cent of its original size.

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated that about 30 million people are adversely affected by a shrunken Lake Chad, which is now just about ten per cent of its original size.

He has therefore stressed the need for the lake to be recharged with water from the Congo Basin, in order for the people to resume their economic lives.

According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari spoke Saturday at State House, Abuja, while hosting the President of Chad, Marshal Idris Deby Itno, who paid him a one-day official visit.

“It is imperative that there be water transfer to the Lake Chad from the Congo Basin, so that the people can resume their normal lives,” he said.

Buhari added that with inter-basin water transfer, farming, fishing, animal husbandry would resume, and curtail irregular migration of youths, who now dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to get into Europe, seeking greener pastures.

“I’ve been engaging with the relevant stakeholders in Africa and beyond, on why we need to recharge Lake Chad. Nigeria will benefit more, but it is also advantageous to everyone,” he added.

President Buhari appreciated Chad for its role in curbing insurgency in the region, particularly the Boko Haram challenge.

“We appreciate what you are doing on security. When I first came to office in 2015, I came to see you, as well as leaders of other neighbouring countries, because it makes sense to be in the good books of our neighbours.”

He wished Itno well in the general elections coming up in his country in April.

The Chadian leader thanked President Buhari for receiving him, saying, “We are neighbours facing similar challenges.”

He added that he was also around to explore other bilateral issues, in addition to security.

On the recharge of Lake Chad, he advised President Buhari to consider convening an international summit to move the idea forward.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.