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$14.5bn project: Nigeria, others seek assistance over Lake Chad

By The Citizen


Nigeria and other countries in the Lake Chad basin have begun seeking the assistance of the international community in the funding of the lake $14.5bn water transfer project.

Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, who stated this at a briefing in Abuja on Friday, said there would be channelisation of water from the Ubangui River in the Central Africa Republic to Lake Chad.

She added that Nigeria and Cameroon would discuss operations of Lagdo Dam to prevent flooding this year.

At the briefing attended by directors of the ministry, the minister said 60 per cent of Nigerians had access to potable water.

The Director of the Public Private Partnership, Mr. Benson Ajisegiri, said Nigeria needed $2.5bn annually in the next five years to make potable water accessible to every Nigerian.

Explaining Nigeria's efforts at addressing shrinking of water in Lake Chad, Ochekpe said the country funded the feasibility study for the water transfer project.

According to her, the study has shown that the project needs $14.5bn.

This amount, she said, Nigeria and five other countries in Lake Chad basin would not be able to provide.

She stated, 'The feasibility study has shown that it is possible to transfer water from Ubangui River to Lake Chad.

'Nigerian government, along with other countries, has already initiated a process of fund raising in order to support this project.

'It is not a project; any of those countries can do alone. We will need the international community.'

To woo the international community, Ochekpe said in Marseille, France in 2012, the Lake Chad Basin Commission convened a donor awareness session, even as President Goodluck Jonathan and other heads of state in the commission convened another in Rio de Janeiro.

Ochekpe added that the ministry utilised 100 per cent of the budget vote released to it in 2012.

She said, 'The percentage of budget that was released was 55.06 per cent and that was used 100 per cent.'

The minister also explained that none of the dams, within the ambit of the ministry, contributed to the flooding in the country last year.