Lake Chad Commission Raises Alarm over Funds
Monday, November 01, 2004
From Ahamefula Ogbu in Abuja
Regional Parliamentary Committee on Lake Chad has raised an alarm over the poor financial situation of Lake Chad Basin Commission,, warning that the situation may affect the planned inter-basin water transfer scheme aimed at saving the lake.
The committee however commended the commission for designing measures targeted at overcoming the problem and called on member countries to live up to their financial responsibilities by promptly paying their agreed subventions.
The committee rose from its third session in Abuja with a paper affirming the resolve of member parliaments to resuscitate the drying lake chad through proactive legislations and collaborative actions.
The communique, which was read by President of the committee, Hon. Mohammed Kumalia commended efforts of heads of states of members of the commissions for their renewed commitment, especially that of President Olusegun Obasanjo in giving financial and moral support to the project.
He noted that Obasanjo has been at the forefront of the move to ensure that the feasibility studies on the inter-basin water transfer is carried out and obtaining a no objection from the Democratic Republic of Congo to enable the immediate commencement of the studies.
"The committee notes with satisfaction the positive roles of the speakers of member parliaments in the establishment of the committee and in particular commend the effort of the leadership of Nigerian House of Representatives for donating a secretariat and bearing expenses of the committee so far," the communique read.
They decried "very low level" of awareness on the basin and directed that member states should step up efforts at raising awareness on the basin.
Kumalia said the Lake Chad had shrunk from 25,000 square kilometers in 1996 to 523 square kilometers in 2004 and warned of the adverse economic consequences if nothing drastic was not done to redeem the situation.
"This trend posses serious socio-economic and ecological problems, loss of bio diversity and environmental degradation in the region," the communique noted.
The committee stressed the need for concerted efforts at local, national, regional and global level to arrest the trend.
They further commended the efforts of donor agencies in helping solve the problem, adding that the restoration of the Lake Chad basin was of global importance.