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President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said the recharging of Lake Chad will help to reduce the irregular migration of youths striving to get into Europe through the Sahara Desert.
He made the remark while hosting the President of Chad, Marshal Idris Deby Itno, at the State House in Abuja.
According to the President, about 30 million people are adversely affected by a shrunken Lake Chad, which is now just about ten percent of its original size, a statement signed by spokesman Femi Adesina said.
“It is imperative that there be water transfer to the Lake Chad from the Congo Basin, so that the people can resume their normal lives,” President Buhari said, as quoted in Adesina’s statement.
He added that with inter-basin water transfer, farming, fishing, animal husbandry would resume, and curtail irregular migration of youths, who now dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to get into Europe, seeking greener pastures, the statement noted.
“I’ve been engaging with the relevant stakeholders in Africa and beyond, on why we need to recharge Lake Chad. Nigeria will benefit more, but it is also advantageous to everyone,’’ President Buhari added.
On the recharge of Lake Chad, Chadian President Itno counseled Buhari to consider convening an international summit to move the idea forward.
Meanwhile, Buhari appreciated Chad for its role in curbing insurgency in the region, particularly the Boko Haram challenge.
“We appreciate what you are doing on security,” the President said. “When I first came to office in 2015, I came to see you, as well as leaders of other neighbouring countries, because it makes sense to be in the good books of our neighbours.”
President Buhari wished Marshal Itno well in the general elections coming up in his country in April.
The Chadian leader thanked President Buhari for receiving him, saying, “We are neighbours facing similar challenges.”
He added that he was also around to explore other bilateral issues, in addition to security.
Fielding questions from state house correspondents on the position of Chad in advancing the functionality of the multinational joint task force formed to fight the insurgency in the Lake Chad region, President Itno said that the Boko Haram crisis will be definitively tackled, given new strategies that would be employed.
He further noted that tackling the insurgent group has been made difficult with operations carried out just once a year, but he is confident that with the change of security operatives both within Nigeria and the multinational joint task force, there is more hope for an end to the crisis.
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