Eight governors within the Lake Chad Basin, met in Yaounde, Cameroon, on Monday, to discuss insurgency and regional security cooperation.
Organised by the Lake Chad Basin Commission, with technical support from the African Union, United Nations Development Programme and Crisis Management Initiative, the meeting was hosted by the Cameroonian Government in collaboration with the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum.
Six governors – including Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno, Nigeria, Issa Lamine of Diffa in the Niger Republic, Midjiyawa Bakari of Far North of Cameroon, Abate Edii Jean of North Region of Cameroon, Mahamat Fadoul Mackaye from Lac Province of Chad and Amina Kodjyana Agnes-Hadjer Lami also from Chad – attended the meeting, while governors of Adamawa and Yobe states in North-East Nigeria, were represented.
A statement issued by the special adviser to Zulum, Malam Isa Gusau, said the meeting, which was declared open by the Cameroonian Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute, accompanied by the Mayor of Yaounde, Mr Luc Messi Atangana, discussed security issues with focus on terror attacks and humanitarian impacts in the region.
The meeting also reviewed the implementation of strategies for regional stabilization, which were adopted in 2019, during a similar meeting in Niamey, Niger Republic.
According to the statement, Zulum, in his contributions, called on 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 on the shores of Lake Chad in order to clear the insurgents, otherwise, we are not going anywhere,” Zulum said.
The governor expressed great concern over the non-utilization of Lake Chad Basin’s shore which can provide huge economic potentials to the region.
Borno Government, he said, is making effort towards establishing free trade zones in Banki town Bama LGA, Gamboru in Ngala, Baga in Kukawa and Damasak in Mobbar LGA, to enhance socio-economic activities within the Lake Chad Region in line with territorial action plans for stabilization.
The governor called on member states to engage in identifying and addressing root causes of insurgency in the region and combine measures other than military operations.
Zulum also raised issues of de-radicalizing persons previously associated with the insurgency in which he highlighted measures for youth engagement, through education, skills acquisition and social development programmes.