By Ebi Kesiena
A two-day Forum on the Development and Recovery of the Lake Chad Basin Region has ended in Abuja with a call for all hands to be on deck to rebuild communities and populations around the Lake Chad Region affected by insurgency and other humanitarian crises.
The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo assured in his keynote note address at the opening of the ‘Inaugural Forum on the Development of Lake Chad Basin’ at the International Conference Centre Abuja, noted that the Federal government will be an active participant in policies that will beef up the rebuilding of the region.
Prof. Osinbajo who thanked the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq, the North East Development Commission, the Lake Chad Basin Commission and other stakeholders for their commitment and contributions to the recovery of the Lake Chad Region, advised that results and recommendations of the Forum should be transmitted to the various governments to guide in policy making and strategic positions that will be taken on issues relating to the development of the region.
“I want to assure all our partners of government’s commitment to working with you for a sustainable, peaceful and boisterous region. I also want to assure you of our unwavering determination to address the crisis and rebuild the livelihoods of people who have been affected by the humanitarian crisis in the region. I am confident of the same level of willingness of the governments of Cameroon, Chad and Niger which in evidence, is displayed here,
“The Federal government of Nigeria will be an active participant in striving to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters across the four countries”, the Vice President said.
Earlier, the Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq noted that an estimated 23 million civilians affected by the Boko Haram insurgency were straddled across the four countries bordering the Lake Chad Basin in the last ten years.
The Minister who was represented by the outgone Permanent Secretary Mr Bashir Nura Alkali stated that the objective of the inaugural forum is to capitalise on the gains and successes of the military operations of the Nigerian Armed forces, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) as well as militaries of all LCB countries.
“To avoid another humanitarian disaster, our intention is to develop strategic and operational solutions that address the challenges of climate change and conflict, support economic recovery, repair the social contract and address the needs of women, youth and the most vulnerable in the Lake Chad region.
“This forum comes at an equally important time as we plan to extend beyond being a coordination platform, pursue the ambition of concrete joint advocacy actions, contribute to the orderly and humane management of reintegration systems and assist in the search for practical solutions within the Lake Chad Basin”.
On day 2 of the Forum, there were technical workshops on ‘Solutions for climate resilience in the Lake Chad Region’, ‘Supporting Local Governance in the Lake Chad Region’ and ‘Engaging Citizens, Women and Youths and Building Social Cohesion in the Lake Chad Region.
The Forum was attended by top government officials of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, Ministers, Governors, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, representatives of Security Agencies, government agencies, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations and other distinguished guests.