Governors Forum Discussions Paper Identifies Major Challenges,Opportunities in Lake Chad Region

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

The Lake Chad Basin Governors Forum (LCBGF) Focus Group Discussions across the Lake Chad Basin has identified a number of opportunities as well as challenges for regional stabilization.

The discussions also pointed out that a number of cyclical events have posed major challenges to stabilization efforts in the region.

Discussions paper on the perspective's of the local communities on stabilization and building of peace in the Lake Chad Basin presented at the Lake Chad Basin Governors Forum during its first forum meeting 8-9, May 2018 at the Multi Purpose Hall of the Maiduguri Government House Tuesday noted that continued insecurity across the region warrants the ongoing crisis and in some places even scaled up the counter insurgency efforts.

It further observed that the restrictions, bans and limitations put in place in the various countries as part of counter insurgent efforts were severely impeding on the regions economic activities and by extension, the regions ability to progress into an early recovery stage to restore food production.

The discussion paper also maintained that much of the regions economic activity relies on access to natural resources like land, pastures, water and firewood for agriculture, fishing and pastoralization, stressing that, in the northeast of Nigeria, 40% of the households rely on farming as their main source of income.

It also said that access to land water resources has been affected and limited through various counter insurgency operations and displacement management efforts where in Niger, Cameroon and Chad Republics have set up IDPs camps in agricultural lands, reducing the ability of nearby communities to cultivate these lands to support increased population as well as restriction on where and when fishing can take place has resulted in drastic reduction in crops production among others.

Similarly in Nigeria, the paper observed that restrictions on convenient outside villages and communities further restrict the amount of land that can be cultivated for farming thereby capping food production and the prospects of livelihoods for many people.

It added also that these challenges provided common limitations at the regional level .for communities to increase food security, general livelihoods and begin the early recovery phase, pointing out that, youths emerged as tje most affected.

According to the paper, despite the cyclical delimma, there were consistently calls for increased security for the entire region, sustaining well trained and equipped military and security presence, investing significantly on basic education, skills acquisition, vocational training and job creation.

Reintegration, reconciliation, justice, strengthening and supporting of traditional rulers and religious leaders in dialogue, peaceful coexistence and reconciliation among people as well as recognizing the role of the women and youths in the stabilization and peace building process or initiatives were very significant.