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West and Central Africa Face Threats From Lake Chad

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The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Ibrahim, has said that the continued recession of the Lake Chad poses a lot of threats to the West and Central African Sub-regions, adding that about 40 million youth in the region have been exposed to poverty and unemployment as a result of the development.

She was speaking during a workshop on “Water Resources and Sustainable Environmental Management in the ECOWAS region” in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Ibrahim, who was represented by Ahmed Gusau, said that the theme of the workshop was appropriate and timely because the receding of the Lake Chad has in no small measure contributed to the insecurity and strife on the African Continent.

She listed the countries most affected as a result of the recession of the Lake to include Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

“There is urgent need to brainstorm on the lingering issues of Water Resources and Environmental Management in the ECOWAS region,” the minister said.

“At the extended level of the African Union, AU., New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, The African Peer Review Mechanism, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisations, UNFAO, and so many other Multinational Institutions, the problems of water recession and environmental degradation have been frontally addressed yet the problems still persist.”

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According to Ibrahim, an important angle to the receding lake Chad, is the devastation of the ecosystem caused by environmental degradation through refuse dump on coastal lines which emits toxins that are injurious to human health.

She noted that environmental pollution has been identified as the major reason for the depletion of ozone layer with harmful radiation on human body and skin diseases.

The minister however reassured participants at the workshop that the government will do its best to address the issue of receding Lake Chad, River Niger and any threat on the coastal line to reduce the menace of water recession and environmental degradation.

Chairman of the occasion and Vice-Chancellor of University of Maiduguri, Ibrahim Njodi, said that Boko Haram in the Northeast is a symptom of the challenges of water resource management in the Lake Chad Basin Areas.

Njodi who was represented by the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Haruna Godowoli, said that the decision of Governor Kashim Shettima to shift his attention from Security to issues of water resources shows that peace is being gradually restored in the state.

The Borno State Head of Service, Yakubu Bukar, who represented Governor Kashim Shettima, said that the workshop will complement the efforts of the state government as it works to make life easier for citizens of the state whose lives had been devastated by the Boko Haram Insurgency.

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