By Ayeotan Shola
President Muhammdu Buhari has ordered the Ministry of Environment to review the 1920 report on Lake chad waters all on in a bid to save the Rapidly depleting waters.
Speaking after receiving a briefing on the challenges facing the Ministry of Environment, the president noted that the security and economic challenges faced by member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission could be substantially ameliorated with an improvement in the economic value of the lake.
The permanent secretary, Nana Fatima Mede, had informed President Buhari that Lake Chad had shrunk considerably from the 1960s when it covered an area of more than 26,000 square kilometres to less than one-tenth of that size at present.
In his response, the president directed the ministry to undertake a rigorous study of the Lake Chad with a view to bringing up proposals on how best to reverse the shrinking of the lake which currently serves as a major source of livelihood for many.
Mede told journalists after the meeting that the president expressed worry that the drying up of the Lake Chad waters was affecting farmers, fishermen and the surrounding communities relying on the lake for their livelihood.
She said, “The president is also concerned about the fact that Lake Chad is receding from the 33,000square kilometres about two decades ago to just 300 square kilometres, which has affected the farmers, fishermen and the livelihood of the people around that area.
“So he has directed that we should go and look at the report that was submitted 1920 about how to prevent Lake Chad from drying up so that the communities around, even border communities including the countries benefitting from activities of fishermen and livelihood based on Lake Chad, are not adversely affected.”
Mede noted that Buhari was also concerned about environmental degradation in the country, which was affecting over 43 percent of the population, and directed that the ministry put more measures in place to address the situation, including the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking, especially in the urban areas of the country.
“It (the meeting) went very well because the president is concerned about the environmental degradation in the country. He knows that the sustainability of the country will depend on how well we manage the environment.