Group launches environmental sustainable programme in schools Need to restore receding Lake Chad Basin
The environmental situation in Lake Chad Basin in North-east of the country has been described as horrible due to the dusty, fierce and unrelenting wind which wilt plants and turn the earth into sand dunes.
The lives of herders, fisher folk and farmers are teetering on the edge as the lake dries up before their eyes, a report has stated.
According to the report, vegetation and water, the traditional staples of livelihood for the Lake Chad community dwellers, are vanishing. Vultures feast on dead cows as drought and desertification take their toll.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) depicts the situation as an “ecological catastrophe,” predicting that the lake could disappear this century.
FAO Director of Land and Water, Parviz Koohafkan, then noted that the Lake Chad basin was one of the most important agricultural heritage sites in the world, providing a lifeline to nearly 30 million people in four countries — Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Lake Chad Basin was once Africa’s largest water reservoir in the Sahel region, it is fed mainly by the Chari River through the Lagone tributary, which used to provide 90 per cent of its water.
The discovery by experts that the Lake Chad Basin which covered about 25,000 sq kilometres in 1964, has reduced to only about 1, 500 sq kilometres presently, thereby resulting into loss in such means of livelihood as fishing, farming and other economic and social activities within the Lake Chad Basin for over thirty million people who depended on it for their livelihoods, therefore call for concerns.
The lake’s receding waters, according to experts, was as a result of climate change and other natural causes which include reduced rainfall, high evaporation, West Africa’s disastrous Sahelian drought and human activities. The impact of the drying lake is causing tension among communities around Lake Chad which have resorted to repeated conflicts among
... Nigeria contributes $5million
nationals of different countries over control of the remaining water.
As a result, several meetings have been held to discuss how to revive the receding Lake Chad. According to UNICEF report, In October 2010, a meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Commission was held in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital. The meeting which was attended by leaders from neighbouring countries resorted to give high priority to preserving what is left of the lake.
Also, it states that in December, international experts met in Cancun, Mexico to work on global agreements in response to climate change. The people who live near Lake Chad hope these distant debates will translate into policies that preserve their environment, provide them with safe water and ensure they have alternative livelihoods for their children’s future.
Alhaji Sanusi Abdullahi, Executive Secretary, Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) said $14.5 billion was needed for the transfer of water from Ubangi River, the largest right bank tributary of the Congo River in the Central African Republic, to Lake Chad
However, he said some key issues such as environmental impact and others needed to be addressed before the commencement of the water transfer.
“From the studies conducted, we have seen that the water transfer is technically feasible and economically viable but certain fundamental issues need to be addressed before the transfer can begin,” he added.
The Minister for Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, said last year that leaders of the Lake Chad Basin Commission have renewed the call for international solidarity in line with funding of a 5-year investment plan aimed at saving Lake Chad.
The Lake Chad Basin Commission member - countries which comprises of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Central Africa Republic and Libya renewed their efforts towards revitalising the shrinking Lake Chad Basin.
It could be recalled that during the meeting, the Speaker of the House of Representative Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said that the committee was established in 2004 and re-inaugurated in 2013 in Niamey, Niger Republic to create partnership ventures towards developing the entire Lake Chad and its ecosystem.
He said: “Our committee was established with clear mandates towards supporting the LCBC as the sub-regional body responsible for the integrated management of the Lake Chad Basin resources in particular and facilitating regional peace, cooperation and security in the basin areas. I wish to assure all and sundry that our committee and all the legislative arms of the LCBC member-countries are fully committed to these objectives.”
He added that the committee would work closely with Presidents and Heads of Governments of LCBC countries, the Commissioners of LCBC as well as its executive secretariat in addressing the natural and man-made challenges facing the Lake Chad Basin.
The need to address the overuse and abuse of water supply that is responsible for the shrinking of the lake became necessary as member states of the Lake Chad basin came up with a water charter.
The Federal Government recently announced the contribution of the sum of $5million for feasibility study towards restoring the Lake Chad which has receded from about 25, 000 square kilometers, 55years ago to about 2,500 kilometers at present.
The amount for feasibility studies will be used for Water Transfer from Central Africa Republic (C.A.R) to the Lake.
This was contained in a statement signed by Chief Press Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Boade Akinola, and made available to Daily Trust.
According to the statement, President Goodluck Jonathan announced this at Roundtable Donors Conference for restoration of Lake Chad Basin organised by Africa Development Bank (ADB) in partnership with Member States in Italy over the weekend.
The president who was represented at the conference by the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Reng Ochekpe said that the Donors’ Conference was organised to source for fund for the five year investment plan and for the preparation towards the Inter Water Transfer to resuscitate Lake Chad.
He explained that the receding of Lake Chad has impacted negatively on agricultural production, pastoral and fishery activities, constituting huge threat to the economy of over 30 million people living within the catchment area.
He added that safeguarding the Lake Chad for the benefit of millions of people would impact positively on poverty reduction in the region, translate to saving the livelihood of the people of the region, reduce insecurity, improve waterways navigation, boost communication and also increase agricultural production in the region.
The president said that the Fiveyear Investment Plan includes five activities that would cost a total sum of 925,809,802 Euros, for the development of socio economic infrastructure, conservation of the ecosystem, restoration and protection of natural resources, capacity building and the involvement of stakeholders in the Integrated Water Resources Management, and Sustainable use of water resources and restoration of the environment and thus assured that Nigeria would continue to support the programme towards restoration of Lake Chad Basin.
“Nigeria reaffirms its firm commitment and support to Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Member States towards the realization of all identified programmes that serve to address the challenges of the receding Lake Chad and thus improve the living standard of population within the Basin” he said.
A boy fetching water from a river at Tiga village in Kano recently.