Molly Kilete, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has attributed the continuous shrinking of Lake Chad in the North-East as one of the numerous factors responsible for incessant conflicts and unrest in the region.
Similarly, the Vice President has said that the war against terrorism in the country was not just a military affair, but a social and economic warfare.
He said that the government must formulate “policies that comprehensively tackled the poverty, illiteracy and frustration that predisposed individuals and communities to extremist beliefs.”
Osinbajo, made this known while declaring open the seventh meeting of the Ministers of Defence from the Community of 28 Sahel-Sahara states.
While noting that the people of the North-East lived comfortably around the lake as fishermen and farmers were now being confronted with displacement and vastly diminished opportunities, Osinbajo, said that “the Federal Government had put up a plan to link the Lake Chad with water from the Congo Basin by constructing a 2,500-kilometre navigable channel.”
According to him, “The Lake Chad Basin which straddles four countries previously supported more than 30 million inhabitants in its vicinity. The shrinking Lake Chad provides a graphic example of the notorious nexus between the environment and human conflict. There are strong indications that violent conflicts in the region can be linked to the resource conflicts associated with the shrinking lake.
“People, whose ancestors made a comfortable living off the land and water as farmers and fishermen, are now confronted with displacement and vastly diminished opportunities.
“Another security threat is the issue of forced migration of people from the region. With over 13 million Internally Displaced Persons in 19 countries, Africa remains the continent most affected by internal displacement.”
The meeting, which has as theme, “Consolidating the achievement of the fight against terrorism through development actions”, was to deliberate on implementing action plans to tackle security threats and terrorist groups such as the Boko Haram, Islamic State fighters and others in the sub-region.