Lake Chad: Survival dependent on regional cooperation – MNJTF

Mazino Dickson

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The Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), has called on Lake Chad basin member-countries to strengthen collaboration to wipe out insurgents and protect the livelihood of those in the area.

The Theatre Commander of the force, Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, made the call on the sidelines of the ongoing international conference on Lake Chad in Abuja.

The Lake Chad basin member-countries are: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger and Nigeria.

According to him, membeber-countries must synergise to see that the common enemy, the insurgents, is taken out.

He said the force was carrying out multi-sectorial engagements to ensure that no new recruitment into violent, extremist groups take place at the region due to poverty and unemployment.

Irabor said the force would continue to create awareness on the dangers of violent extremism through partnerships with relevant stakeholders.

He said the benefits of the conference would be an opportunity to bring the issues to the fore and for all stakeholders to support all efforts to see that the lake was restored.

‘‘In fact, this conference is part of the broader measures to address the security challenges within the Lake Chad area.

“Assuming we are able to find a way to replenish the water, fishing activities and its benefits will promote economic life.

‘‘Animal husbandry will also thrive; the people could also practice large scale farming.

”When you aggregate all these, you will know what economic impact of the restoration of the Lake Chad will have on the people, he said.’’

Irabor also said the command would continue its support to military authorities in the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) states in the ongoing clearance operations to route out remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents.

In a related development, Mr Lawrence Freeman, a political analyst, speaking on ‘Thinking Big for the Future of Africa ” said the lake remained the sole provider of means of existence for tens of millions of people.

Freeman, who said that the leadership role taken up by heads of state of the member-states had weakened the capability of violent extremist organisations, called for continued partnerships.

‘‘However, to eliminate the spawning of new terrorist movements, and to end the waves of Africans risking their lives to escape poverty, we must give the people, especially youths, hope for a better future.

‘This requires more than simply humanitarian aid or charity, it requires economic transformation,’’ Freeman said.

The MNJTF with headquarters in Ndjamena, Chad was constituted by LCBC states to fight Boko haram insurgency.

The conference with the theme, ‘‘Saving the Lake to Revitalise the Basin’s Ecosystem,’’ is aimed at creating global awareness on the socio-economic and environmental challenges arising from the shrinking lake.