President Muhammadu Buhari has said that over $14bn is needed to revive the Lake Chad and save the communities that depend on the river from extinction.
He, therefore, appealed to developed countries to make a strong financial commitment to the revival of Lake Chad.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Tuesday, the President said this while addressing a meeting on “Climate Change Challenges and Solutions in Africa” on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, holding in Paris, France.
Buhari disclosed that no fewer than five million people living in the Lake Chad Basin countries had been displaced by the depletion of the lake due to climate change.
The President said the shrinking of Lake Chad, a former island sea, had resulted in increased social conflicts, high rates of migration and cross-border movements.
He noted that the lake, which covered over 25,000 square kilometres in 1925, had shrunk to 2,500 square kilometres.
He said in some parts of northern Nigeria, a farm that used to belong to 10 people now belongs to over 100 people, saying they have no other place to live and no land for cultivation.
The President recalled that a research conducted by a professor in a London university and published more than three decades ago had predicted that unless one or some of the rivers from the Central African region were diverted into the Lake Chad basin, the river would dry up.
Buhari said, “The amount of resources required and the high technological expertise and infrastructure needed to be undertaken to revive the Lake Chad has to be mainly financed by the G7 and the United States.
“The cost is great and more than $14bn is needed to revive the lake. But if that is achieved, at least five million people from the Central African Republic to the Lake Chad Basin countries (Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin) will be rehabilitated.
“When this is done those who are daring to cross the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea to come to Europe will remain at home because they would have land where they can cultivate and earn a respectable living.”
He restated his appeal to leaders from the developed countries to make the revival of the Lake Chad a top priority.
On Nigeria’s plans to tackle climate change, Buhari told the meeting attended by the French President, Francois Hollande, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon and several African leaders that the country was blessed with natural gas to boost the country’s energy needs.