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Promoting Good Governance.

REPORT: Climate change, conflicts endanger lives of people in Lake Chad Basin area

COMMUNITIES in the North East, especially the people living around the Lake Chad Basin area are grappling with hunger, rape and uncertain future for their children. 

Their situation may get worse as adverse ecological changes, linked to climate change and poor water management, exacerbate.

This is the finding of a 2019 report published by Social Action Development Centre (Social Action) and Development and Peace launched yesterday in Abuja.

Social Action is a local NGO that promotes resource democracy, social justice and human rights in the sectors of energy, mining, the environment and climate change, trade and public budgets, and its partner, Development and Peace offers social service to the poor and the oppressed across the world.

In the report, Boiling Over: Global Warming, hunger and Violence in the Lake Child Basin, the researchers found that climate change is responsible for decades of drought and desertification in the Sahel region, causing reductions in the pasture for livestock and fertile land for food production.

The ecological crisis, in turn, contributed to the violent conflict in the Lake Chad Basin, the report stated.

Another factor, such as total neglect of ecological restoration, manifested in the form of poor governance, the looting of public funds by government officials and contractors,  has also been identified as contributory to the humanitarian crisis in that part of the country.

Dr. Isaac Osuoka, the Director of Social Action, said the goal of the study is therefore to improve the public awareness about the underlying causes and the ramifications of the conflict in the Lake Chad Basin, and the Northeast in general.

His organisation saw the similarities in various conflicts happening in the country over the years, and therefore “identified the need to promote a common civic understanding of the genesis of the problems, he said.

Genevive Talbot, a co-author of the report and programme officer at Africa Development and Peace reinforced the statement of Osuoka.

“This report talks about environmental security, about human right violation and poverty. The mix of these three ingredients gave rise to the conflict we are now witnessing.”

She urged all stakeholders to recognise the suffering of Nigerians trapped in the conflict in the Northeast and help them to find peace and justice.

“We need to work as one voice.”

The Director, MacArthur Foundation, Africa, Dr. Kole Shettima, said a regional response to the crisis in Lake Chad Basin is key to finding a permanent solution to the problems so that members can learn a lesson from each other.

He also said stakeholders must develop a new approach that questions the basis of the problem: The people.

“We seem to be offering the same solutions. We are not asking whether the solution we offer is yielding the desired result. We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a different result. I challenge everyone to rethink development paradigm. For development is about people”

As part of mobilising support for the humanitarian crisis in Lake Chad Basin area, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, represented by Daniel Arsenault, Head of Cooperation, disclosed that Canada is delivering $2.65 billion in climate finance to developing countries, including Nigeria by 2020.

This contribution represents Canada’s largest climate finance contribution ever and will help developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, the transition to low-carbon economies and build climate resilience.

Agencies of government such as the Northeast Development Commission and State Emergency Management Commission promised to work closely with state and non-state actors in order to end the suffering of the victims of the crisis in the northeast.

The leadership of the two agencies, Alkali Mohammed, NDC Chairman,  and Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, SEMA Borno, were in attendance.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Chad Basin Development Authority, Modu Sulum commended effort and pledges of the stakeholders and urged them to carry the affected communities along in their activities.

“Have it in mind that whenever you are coming for any development program in the Lake Chad Basin area, the people of the communities need to be carried along,” he said.

Lake Chad Basin Commission comprises of  Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad. The four countries signed the Fort Lamy (today N’Djamena) Convention on May 22, 1964, which created the Lake Chad Basin Commission. The Central African Republic joined in 1996, and Libya joined in 2008.

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