Mr Dawuda Gowon, a former Director of Federal Ministry of Water Resources, says efforts to restore the shrinking Lake Chad require political will and cooperation of countries in the Lake Chad Basin.
Gowon said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on the sidelines of the international conference on strategies to revitalise the Lake Chad Basin in Abuja.
He underscored the need for the revitalisation of the lake, saying that many people depended on the lake for their farming, fishing and livestock production, while it was also a source of water supply for drinking.
“Unfortunately, Lake Chad is shrinking due to human pressure and adverse effects of climate change, thereby reducing its size.
“Saving the lake is a big challenge that requires political will, engineering skills and cooperation of the people of the region as well as diplomacy because the project is quite enormous.
“Millions of people are living within the Lake Chad basin; they need to farm, they need to fish and the water is the only resource that would enable them to achieve all these activities.
“And that is why Nigeria is putting more efforts, trying to get the lake revitalised,’’ he said.
Gowon said that Nigeria has huge water resources, adding that what was imperative was to maximise the resources to boost the country’s development via enhanced productivity.
He, therefore, described Nigeria’s cooperation with other countries in the nascent efforts to revitalise Lake Chad as an added advantage.
Besides, Gowon stressed the need to engage qualified personnel to work in the ministry of water resources because of the technical nature of the ministry and the requirements of managing the water sector.
NAN reports that the theme of the conference is: “Saving the Lake Chad to revitalise the basin’s ecosystem for sustainable livelihoods, security and development’’.
The member states of Lake Chad Basin Commission are Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger and Sudan.