President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja reiterated the need for sustained financial, technical and capacity building support from the international community to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in the country.
Receiving a letter of credence from Mr. Robert Jan Petri, the Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria, President Buhari said Nigeria would continue to vigorously pursue the replenishment of the Lake Chad Basin, which has dried up to 10 per cent of its original size.
“With the population growth in Nigeria and the drying up of the Lake Chad, we have to move faster and adapt to the impacts of climate change through technological solutions,” the president said.
The president told the Dutch Ambassador that following Nigeria’s active participation in UN-organized Climate Change conferences in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Nigerian government successfully hosted a high-level international conference on Lake Chad in February 2018.
Buhari in a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday noted that the high-level conference provided an opportunity to push further options to restore the Lake Chad, including the inter-basin water transfer project from Ubangi River in Central Africa to the lake.
On agriculture, the president welcomed the interest by some Nigerian doctoral students in the Netherlands on developing the sector through research and innovation, particularly the livestock sector.
In separate remarks, while receiving the letter of credence from the High Commissioner of the Republic of Botswana, Mr. Pule Mphothwe, President Buhari commended the Southern African country for its consistent support to Nigeria in the international fora.
The President who also received letter of credence from Mr. Houssam Diab, Ambassador of Lebanon to Nigeria, commended Lebanon for its successful parliamentary elections, commitment to stability and security in the Middle East, as well as assistance to Syrian refugees.
In their separate remarks, the Ambassadors while highlighting the existing and cordial relations between Nigeria and their countries, called for increased trade and economic cooperation.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government yesterday said it has initiated measures to cushion the negative effects of the shrinkage of Lake Chad.
President Buhari who disclosed this yesterday in Maiduguri while declaring open the First Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum, assured Nigeria is working assiduously to address the plight of the people living on the Nigerian side of the lake.
The president who was represented by the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, said there was a need to find workable solutions in resuscitating the Lake Chad to the benefit of all member countries in the region.
He added that the people living in the Basin depend on the Lake Chad for agriculture, fisheries and livestock for their economic wellbeing.
“The Lake Chad is very dear to our heart as it is a source of livelihood to over 45 million people living in the Basin. This lake, which is one of the oldest lakes in Africa, is shared by Cameroun, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
He noted that the Lake Chad region was formerly an “oasis in the desert”, a hub of economic activities and food security, providing a source of happiness and contentment that contributed to the stability of the sub-region.
President Buhari, who noted that the Lake Chad issues must be treated with the required urgency, called on all stakeholders to share the mission of rescuing the Lake Chad Basin.
In his remarks, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said despite the progress made on the security and humanitarian front in recent years, more needs to be done to assure the people of the Lake Chad Basin of their safety.
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