The Lake Chad Basin Commission on Tuesday said it had articulated an Emergency Development Programme of about N13 billion to complement ongoing war against Boko Haram in areas affected by the insurgency.
The Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Mr Sanusi Abdullahi, said this at the Meeting of Ministers of Defence, Chiefs of Defence Staff of The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) member states and Benin in Abuja.
Abdullahi said the Heads of State and Government of LCBC member states had directed the Lake Chad Basin Commission to develop an emergency development initiative to complement the ongoing war against Boko Haram.
He said the Heads of State and Governments of LCBC member states also directed that the development initiative should be implemented in areas affected by the insurgency.
“We have therefore articulated an emergency development programme for the sum of 38.5 billion francs or about N13 billion.
Abudallahi said the money would be implemented as follows: Region of Lac and Hadjar Lamis in Chad Republic, Far North Region of Cameroon, Regions of Diffa and Zinder in Niger Republic.
Other areas where the development programme would be implemented include; States of Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa and Kano in Nigeria.
He said the overall objective of the programme which would last for 18 months in the first phase, was the reduction of poverty through the implementation of development activities in the regions.
“To combat the causes and conditions that favour the development of insecurity specifically; and to undertake actions that generate revenues through agro-pastoral, business enterprises;
“Strengthen the capacity of youth, women and vulnerable groups by financing social and professional integration skill acquisition;
“Raise awareness in the Lake Chad region on security in order to create a climate of trust, conducive to the improvement of their living environment and illiteracy eradication,” the executive secretary said.
He said the meeting would discuss wide ranging issues toward addressing critical challenges relating to the region’s common fight against Boko Haram and the root causes and drivers of insurgency.
He said this was with a view to advising the sub-region’s Heads of State and governments to take concrete decisions on June 11 at their Extra Ordinary Meeting.
“In my opinion, it is the right time and the opportunity to translate the conclusions of your deliberations into appropriate decisions by our Heads of State and Commanders-in-Chief of our Armed Forces.
Alhaji Aliyu Ismalia, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, commended the successes recorded by the region’s military joint operations as they destroyed Boko Haram bases and seriously reduced its capacity.
“ There is, therefore, an urgent need to redouble our collective operational efforts in order to root out this monster, Boko Haram,” he said.
He said the region’s team of experts had proposed modalities for the operationalisation of the Multi-National Joint Task Force.
“The proposal had been reviewed and adopted by the Chiefs of Defence Staff and would be presented at this meeting to your excellencies for consideration and adoption.
“After which the document will be presented at the Extra-ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the LCBC and Benin on June 11.
“This is the only way we will be reassuring Africa, Africans and in fact the international community, that the LCBC and Benin are ready for the operationalisation of the MNJTF and perhaps win their needed support for its operations.
The ceremony was attended by the Chadian Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Issa Brahim, Minister of Defence of Cameroon , Mr Mebe Alain and Minister of Defence of Niger, Mr Karidio Mahamadou, among others. (NAN)