Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said Nigeria is making plans for the safe return of citizens who fled from insurgency in the North East.
Osinbajo also said past leaders of countries bordering the Lake Chad Basin foresaw the crisis in the region when they established a development commission in 1964.
He said this in Abuja, yesterday, when he while opening the Ministerial meeting on protection in the Lake Chad Basin during the three-day regional dialogue on the Lake Chad Basin.
The acting president, however, stated that the legacy is being threatened by humanitarian and ecological challenges.
“We will make necessary arrangements for the return of those, who fled to neighbouring countries as soon as modalities for that exercise is jointly agreed by all. The people of the Lake Chad region face problems of existential proportions, loss of lives, livelihoods, malnutrition, out of school children. The protection issues are complex, varied and numerous.
“But it is for such a time as this that the visionary leaders of Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria established the Lake Chad Basin Commission in 1964.
“Those pioneers expected that working together as brothers in the commission, the ecological, commercial and social lives of the Lake Chad basin stood a much better chance of survival. They expected, even then, that there would be challenges, but they knew that the most daunting challenges are conquered by men and not spirits.
“And they trusted in the creativity and hard work and the unbending will of their descendants to preserve the legacy that they left behind. That legacy is facing the most important threat today.
“The question is whether the twin challenges – the humanitarian and the ecological – will defeat the will, creativity and patriotism of this generation of leaders of the Lake Chad commission.
“If this were to happen, then in a few short years, the commission would probably, only exist on paper. God forbid.”
Osinbajo said the Lake Chad Basin had always been a place of great hope and expectation for the peoples’ survival, but in spite of the shrinking of the lake, Boko Haram terrorists had created humanitarian crisis needing urgent international attention.