By Isaac Aregbesola
Addis Ababa (NAN) Nigeria and Republic of Chad have called on the African Union (AU) and international donors to assist in raising 50 billion dollars for recharging of drying Lake Chad.
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said the two countries made the call at the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) alongside of the ongoing 28th AU Summit.
He said there was also an agreement by the two countries to have a formal international donor conference on recharging the lake, as well as having a direct engagement with possible sponsors.
The minister explained that the APRM consisting 33 countries was a self-monitoring policy through peer review mechanism to ensure social, economic and political development among member states.
Onyeama said the peer review mechanism was a process where the member states submit themselves to review each other, where Nigeria had peer reviewed Republic of Chad.
He said that the two issues that came up on the Chad review were the impact of Boko Haram and shrinking of the Lake which affected about 30 million people around the lake basin.
“We recognised the role that Chad has been playing in the framework of the International Joint Task Force and we pointed out the impact of the Boko Haram on the task force.
“On the question of Chad, we pointed out that the Lake had shrunk to about 10 per cent and has had catastrophic effect on the people living in that area.
“And the challenge is how to address such situation, I pointed out that what Nigeria is looking at in that context is the possibility of recharging the lake from a river from Central Africa, the Rangin River,” he said.
He said that Nigeria had already paid about five million dollars towards a study on recharging the lake.
Onyeama added that it was going to cost about 15 million dollars or more to do a comprehensive feasibility study on recharging of Lake Chad.
“The cost of recharging is in the neighbourhood of 15 billion to 20 billion dollars. I pointed out that we are looking at the possibility of organising international donor conference to look for fund to addressing this issue.
“The environmental impact and the negative aspect. The President of Chad, Idriss Deby, followed up with us also elaborated on the issue, calling on the world to assist us in addressing the Lake Chad issue.
“Because there is ecological issue, there is environmental issue, social and of course we have seen that we can also have illegal migration of the youth and also war within the area.’’
He said that after the discussion, it was agreed that to have a formal international donor conference “and that is why we were really engage directly with possible sponsors”.