Restoring lake Chad as head solution to terrorism in Africa

President Muhammadu Buhari

…Police say Foreigners targeted, in Italy Macerata drive-by attack***

The just concluded African Union Peace and Security Council Summit, which held at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia threw up composite and smart ideas for addressing the problem of terrorism in Africa. Indeed, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari set the tone for that in his address during the summit.

African Heads of State and leaders of International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) sat comfortably and directed full gaze at President Buhari when he got up to speak.

The reason was simple. Nigeria would share with them the chilling story of terrorism anchored on activities of Boko Haram and the magic wand applied by the government to combat the scourge. Noticeably, pin drop silence greeted the President’s speech, while everyone at the conference hall listened with rapt attention.

Speaking under the theme, “Towards A Comprehensive Approach To Combat The Transnational Threat To Terrorism”, President Buhari raised one fundamental issue on attainment of a lasting solution to the raging problem in Africa.

He pleaded for concerted efforts to tackle the menace from the roots, insisting on having the rest of the world joining hands specifically for turning around the dwindling fortune of the Lake Chad Basin. President Buhari at the AU summit traced the roots of transnational terrorism and the springing up of Boko Haram to climate change and the attendant effect on Lake Chad.

He noted that the Lake, owing to heavy impact of desert encroachment has lost more than 80 percent of its content over the years.

The consistent drying up of the lake has, however, produced devastating effects on human activities along the basin, culminating in loss of jobs and recourse to conflicts for access to arable land and space.

The unspoken facts by the President in his speech is that Lake Chad, which connects Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Niger has been good to Africa in many ways and not only to the owner countries.

According to statistics, the Lake, which began to shrink from the early 80s has decreased from a peak of 25,000 square kilometers recorded in the 60s, to approximately 1,350 today. Hitherto, the lake has been sustaining the lives of more than 30 million people camped along the basin.

The loss of water basing in Lake Chad over the years has continued to impose humanitarian crises and social conflicts in the West African region. It has also promoted the spread of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism, according to President Buhari, a problem he opined has been too widespread for a single country to combat.

Meanwhile, at least six people have been wounded in a series of drive-by shootings in a town in central Italy, and one man has been arrested, police say.

All of those hurt in the attacks in Macerata were foreigners, they said.

The suspect had an Italian flag wrapped around his neck when he was detained, amid indications that the attack may have been racially motivated.

The mayor warned people to stay indoors because of the incident, with shootings reported across different locations.

The victims are being treated in hospital. At least one of them is said to be in a serious condition.

Police said all those targeted were foreigners and local media said they were black immigrants.

The shooting began at 11:00 local time (10:00 GMT), La Repubblica website reports, and the gunman was captured two hours later, after fleeing the car – a black Alfa Romeo – on foot near the town’s war memorial.

Vanguard with additional report from BBC