Eight governors within the Lake Chad Basin have met in Yaoundé, Cameroon to discuss regional security cooperation and path to improve stability.
The region as a result of the recession of Lake Chad and subsequent impoverishment has been fraught with Boko Haram for over a decade.
The governors are from areas surrounding the Lake Chad in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
A statement by the spokesman of Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, Mallam Isa Gusau on Tuesday said his principal join seven other governors within the Lake Chad Basin, on Monday in Yaoundé, Cameroon to discuss regional security cooperation and path to improve stability.
He revealed that the meeting had six governors in attendance: Zulum from Borno, Issa Lamine of Diffa in Niger Republic; Midjiyawa Bakari of Far North of Cameroon; Abate Edii Jean from North Region of Cameroon; Mahamat Fadoul Mackaye from Lac Province of Chad and Amina Kodjyana Agnes – Hadjer Lami also from Chad, while Governors of Adamawa and Yobe States in northeast Nigeria, were represented.
He said the meeting which was organized by the Lake Chad Basin Commission, with technical support from the African Union, United Nations Development Programme and Crisis Management Initiative, was hosted by the Cameroonian Government in collaboration with the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum.
He said the meeting, which was declared open by the Cameroonian Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute, accompanied by the Mayor of Yaoundé, Mr Luc Messi Atangana, discussed security issues with focus on terror attacks and humanitarian impacts in the region; and also reviewed implementation of strategies for regional stabilization, which were adopted in 2019, during a similar meeting in Niamey, Niger Republic.
According to Gusau, Zulum in his contributions, tabled Borno’s position, calling on the need to drastically raise the level of trans border cooperation on security before strategic and territorial action plans can work.
Zulum was quoted to have said. “All these territorial action plans can never be feasible without security, the first thing that we need in the entire region is to address security issues. Especially in the shores of Lake Chad. It is necessary to undertake holistic security operations in the shores of Lake Chad in order to clear the insurgents, otherwise, we are not going anywhere.”
The Borno governor expressed great concern over the non-utilization of Lake Chad Basin’s shore which he noted, can provide huge economic potentials to benefit the people of the region.
He revealed that already, Borno Government is making effort towards establishing free trade zones in Banki town Bama local government area, Gamboru in Ngala, Baga in Kukawa and Damasak in Mobbar local government area to enhance socio-economic activities within the Lake region in line with territorial action plans for stabilization.
Zulum however called on member states to engage in identifying and addressing root causes of Boko Haram crisis, and combine measures other than military operations.
He also raised issues of de-radicalizing persons previously associated with Boko Haram, and highlighted measures for youth engagement, through education, skills acquisition and social development programmes.