Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, and seven other governors within the Lake Chad Basin, on Monday, met in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to discuss regional security cooperation and the 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 were from areas surrounding the Lake Chad in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
A statement by Zulum’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, on Tuesday said his principal joinedseven 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, which included 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 North East Nigeria, were represented.
He said the meeting which was organised 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.
According to him, 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 stabilisation, which were adopted in 2019, during a similar meeting in Niamey, Niger Republic. Gusau noted that Zulum, in his contributions, tabled Borno’s position, and called for the need to drastically raise the level of trans-border cooperation on security before strategic and territorial action plans can work.
“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,” Zulum was quoted as saying.
The Borno governor expressed great concern over the non-utilisation of Lake Chad Basin’s shore, which he noted, could provide huge economic potentials to benefit the people of the region.
Already, he said, the Borno government has begun to make 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 stabilisation.
The governor, 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 further raised issues of de-radicalised persons previously associated with Boko Haram, and highlighted measures for youth engagement, through education, skills acquisition and social development programmes.