By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday expressed worry on the steady shrinking of Lake Chad, saying that the development had adversely affected over 30 million people.
Buhari said that the lake had become just about 10 per cent of its original size.
The president made the statement when he hosted the President of Chad, Marshal Idris Deby Itno, who paid him an official visit at the State House, Abuja.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman in a statement, quoted Buhari as saying that: “It is imperative that there be water transfer to Lake Chad from the Congo Basin so that people can resume their normal lives.”
He noted that with inter-basin water transfer, farming, fishing and animal husbandry would resume and curtail irregular migration of youths.
According to the Nigerian leader, young people now dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to get into Europe to seek greener pastures.
“I’ve been engaging with 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.’’
Buhari lauded Chad for its role in curbing insurgency in the Lake Chad region, especially 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 and other leaders in our neighbouring countries because it makes sense to be in the good books of our neighbours.’’
Buhari wished the Chadian leader well in the general elections coming up in that country next month.
The Chadian leader thanked Buhari for receiving him, saying: “we are neighbours facing similar challenges.”
He said that he was in Nigeria to explore bilateral issues and to discuss with the Nigerian government on issues relating to regional security.
Itno told Buhari to consider the possibility of convening an international summit to dialogue on the crisis in the Lake Chad area. (NAN)