Save Lake Chad, Buhari begs rich nations

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has urged rich countries to do something urgent to save the Lake Chad from extinction, arising from the effects of climate change.

He made the plea while receiving the Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Ms Irina Bokova, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

The president warned that the failure to regenerate the Lake Chad would lead to another round of migration by the people living in the areas.

Buhari, who led seven ministers to an interactive meeting with the UNESCO chief, said Nigeria and the other countries of the Lake Chad Basin lacked the billions of dollars required to channel water from the Congo Basin into the lake, to check its rapid depletion.

He said: “Those living in the Lake Chad region have suffered untold hardship and displacement because of the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists.

‘‘If there is no farming and fishing, they will dare the desert to migrate.

“Unless the developed countries make concerted efforts to complete the feasibility study, mobilise resources and technology to start the water transfer from the Congo Basin, the Lake Chad will dry up.

‘‘The people will go somewhere and they will create problems for those countries,” the president told the visiting UN official.

President Buhari commended UNESCO’s support to Nigeria, particularly on the ongoing rehabilitation work in the North-East and reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

He said the pathetic situation of IDPs require immediate and urgent response from international organisations such as UNSECO, to provide infrastructure, health and education for the people in the area.

The UNESCO Director-General, Mrs Bokova, who commenced a week-long visit to West and Central Africa on August 6, said she was in Nigeria to strengthen the organisation’s programme in the areas of science and technology, gender and youth development, culture, water resources development, health and environment.