The chairman of the Lake Chad Governors Forum and governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, has handed over the baton of the forum’s leadership to the governor of Diffa, Niger Republic, Mohamed Mouddour.
Eight governors from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad are presently meeting in Niamey, Niger, alongside several CSOs and stakeholders to deliberate on the crisis rocking the Lake Chad region.
The governors include the Governor of Extreme North, Cameroon; Governor of North Region, Cameroon; Governor of Diffa, Niger; Governor of Adamawa, Nigeria; Governor of Borno, Nigeria; Governor of Yobe, Nigeria; Governor of Hadjer Lamis, Chad; and the Governor of Lac Region, Chad.
The former governor of Borno, Kassim Shettima, had led the forum since it had its first meeting in Maiduguri, in 2018. Mr Zulum recently took over the mantle of leadership in Borno.
The current event, which was organised by the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), has technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Union (AU) and the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).
At the brief handover ceremony, which was witnessed by different stakeholders from the region, Mr Zulum urged his successor to take the forum to higher heights even as it prepares to organise the forum’s third meeting next year.
“I just took over as governor in the early part of this year. But I was one of those that organised the first meeting that held in Maiduguri last year,” Mr Zulum said inter alia while handing over.
He said some of the resolutions that were reached at the 2018 meeting included the stabilisation of the region, promotion of dialogue, resettlement of displaced persons, strengthening community-based interventions and the creation of ‘early warning signs’ for effective security of inhabitants of the region, among other things.
The governor, who was the only Nigerian governor that didn’t send a representative to Niamey, also said he was stunned when he visited some communities in Niger “and met tens of thousands of displaced Nigerians then.”
He said all the regional governors were facing similar challenges and, therefore, there’s a need for them to synergise efforts to bring peace back to the region.
In his acceptance, the governor of Diffa commended the efforts of the Borno government for leading the forum so far adding that he would build on the achievements.
The Niamey meeting is expected to offer solutions to the insecurity pervading the region through collective decisions.
The event will witness engagements from national, regional and international high-level participants.
Also, delegates from various institutions and government, UN agencies, continental and sub-regional bodies such as the African Union, ECOWAS, ECCAS, civil society groups, think tanks, academia, private sector from the Lake Chad Basin region will deliver their input on how to resolve the challenges confronting the region.
The event will include plenary sessions and thematic panel discussions.