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Buhari: Nigeria needs €916m for Chad Basin, climate plan

By Mohammed Abubakar and Miriam Humbe
15 May 2016   |   2:34 am
Buhari said €916m was required for the effective implementation of the Lake Chad Development and Climate Resilience Action Plan (LCDCRAP).
Regional security summit

L-R: President Paul Biya of Cameroon, French President Francois Hollande and President Muhammadu Buhari at the Second Regional Security Summit in Abuja on Saturday, May 14, 2016. PHOTO: Philip Ojisua

• Boko Haram Remains A Threat, Says Hollande

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, reiterated that Boko Haram has been decimated. His French counterpart, Francois Hollande, however, noted that despite the acclaimed successes recorded against the terrorist organisation, it still poses a huge threat to international security.

Hollande, who is in the country for the second Regional Security Summit, arrived State House 10.30am and inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Guards Brigade.

Discussions at the summit are expected to focus on the formal deployment of a new regional force, comprising troops from Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The two leaders discussed bilateral and economic relations. “We also discussed other matters and signed agreement in technical, scientific and cultural cooperation, as well as agreement on development. As you may know, the French Development Agency invests a lot in Nigeria, which is the first beneficiary of its loans,” said Hollande.

In his remarks, Buhari expressed gratitude to the French President for his support for Nigeria, saying it has led to effective tackling of the Boko Haram menace.

During a question and answer session, the French leader stressed: “Terrorism ‎is feeding on the weaknesses of the global financial system. We, therefore, have to fight corruption, dwindling economy, as well as tax havens. This has an impact on terrorist groups and their ability to finance arms trafficking, as well as terror attacks.”

Asked to explain the current stage of the fight against Boko Haram in the country, Buhari said: “When we came in, they were controlling 14 local governments, but now they are not holding any. They are, however, exploiting available technology in terms of using improvised explosive devices on soft targets, like mosques, churches, markets and motor parks.”

Buhari said €916m was required for the effective implementation of the Lake Chad Development and Climate Resilience Action Plan (LCDCRAP). According to him, the long-term development of the Lake Chad region is crucial to reducing the high poverty rate in the basin, a major factor in the recruitment of terrorists.

“The long-term development of the Lake Chad Region is crucial to reducing the high poverty rate in the basin, a major factor in the recruitment of terrorists. Implementing the Lake Chad Development and Climate Resilience Action Plan (LCDCRAP), which was submitted to donor countries and organizations at the conference of Parties (COP 21), Side Event on the Lake Chad, therefore, remains a vital challenge. The total cost of the short and medium term development of the Lake Chad region is estimated to be in the region of €916m. As LCDC Member States, we seek the cooperation and support of our partners to implement this plan,” he said.

He stressed the need to articulate a plan for the critical post-conflict development phase, saying it was only by bringing development to the areas affected by the insurgency, and by protecting the victims and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees that genuine recovery for conflict devastated areas could be achieved.

While expressing the hope that the summit would be a turning point for the collective efforts to achieve a conflict-free, peaceful and stable region, Buhari, said: “Against this backdrop, our task is to review how well we have achieved our objectives since the Paris Summit.

“We must seize the opportunity this summit presents to evaluate the successes we have achieved, consolidate our achievements, identify any shortcomings we have experienced, and then draw important lessons on which to build further progress,” he added.

The President reassured that Nigeria would continue to work tirelessly to strengthen regional collaboration and expand international partnership.

He said Nigeria had diligently implemented several proactive programmes in furtherance of the decisions of the Paris Summit.

“Today, we have achieved significant outcomes. Boko Haram is no longer a cohesive force, but a group of self-seeking individuals pursuing personal glory.”

President Buhari enumerated some of Nigeria’s achievements at both bilateral and multilateral levels, since the Paris Summit to include the recovery of all territories occupied by the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria and the establishment of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to prosecute the war on terror.