AS delegates discussed the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Water Resource, yesterday, Alhaji Mahmood Usman, attributed the emergency of Boko Haram sect to the neglect of Lake Chad.

Usman, who noted that the Lake Chad used to be the major source of water for irrigation where various youths who engaged in farming and fishing in the North-East geo-political zone, said however that because they no longer engage in these activities, they became members of Boko Haram.

According to him, Nigeria did not only neglect the sustenance of the important water body,  she allowed indiscriminate construction of dams on five rivers which hitherto supplied water to Lake Chad.
He added that the Nigerian section of the lake has shrunk to a tiny size that can support neither fishing nor farming and this has left able-bodied men in the area idle leading to engagement in non-profitable ventures.

The delegate, who warned that it would be wishful thinking to believe the situation of the lake could change soon, said the government also neglected forestry including the Sambisa Forest now being occupied by the Boko Haram insurgents.

Some of the recommendations of the committee were that Lake Chad should be resuscitated; trans-boundary waters should be placed on the Exclusive Legislative List; and water for domestic, commercial, industrial, irrigation, power and other uses should be placed on the Concurrent List.

The Committee which observed that drying up of lakes and rivers has had drastic impacts on the economy, said in the report: “Drought, desertification and drying up of lakes and rivers pose serious problems and have had a drastic effect on Nigeria’s economy. It has displaced cattle herdsmen, communities and posed very serious security challenges from insurgents as well as tensions between neighboring communities and countries.

“Therefore, the restoration of dried up lakes and rivers is imperative. It will have consequences on the environment through the restoration of ecosystems and facilitate the return of relationships between affected communities and countries to done equilibrium.”

Contributing, a delegate on the platform of Elder Statesmen category, King Alfred Diete- Spiff suggested that the Federal Government should provide funds for massive production of mushroom for export.

Former Minister of State, Water Resources and a delegate representing Taraba State, Mrs. Salome Jankada called for consistency in government policies. She attributed agricultural problems to inconsistent policies, which discourage farmers.

Ambassador Hassan Adamu, a delegate representing the North -East zone called for insurance scheme for farmers especially in cases of drought and flood to strengthen the financial base of farmers.

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