President-elect Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration will focus on re-activating the Lake Chad in addition to deploying enormous resources to resume vigorous search for oil along the Chad Basin in parts of Borno State.
This is just as he gave assurancBuhari-oil.jpg.e that his incoming government would accord priority to ending the insurgency ravaging the north eastern states to bring stability back to the region.
General Buhari gave the assurances on Sunday at his Kaduna residence while responding to requests made by Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Elkanemi and some elders of the state who went in a delegation to congratulate the president-elect.
General Buhari also assured the delegation that the receding of Lake Chad would be addressed through the transfer of water from the Central African Republic to the lake to boost its commercial activities for fishing and irrigation farming.
He recalled that he once read a document raising fears about the receding of the Lake Chad which he handed over to then President Olusegun Obasanjo but now that he would be coming as president, he would address the matter himself.
Buhari noted that the lake had the potential to create millions of jobs through irrigation and the many other commercial uses it was associated with many years ago.
While acknowledging delays in oil exploration activities in the Chad Basin, the incoming president said he was very conversant with exploration activities in the area since 1978 when he was petroleum minister, adding that he would take up the matter as president.
Buhari recalled that he had many years ago suggested the need to take the search for oil in the north seriously, not only to increase the export potential of Nigeria but also to balance cross regional perceptions and manage agitations, so as to enhance the stability of the country.
He, therefore, promised to pay special attention to the economic potentialities of the North East so as to make it attractive for investments.
On the security and economic challenges bedevilling the North-East, Buhari said he was very much aware of them and would not delay to address them one after the other.
He said his administration would enhance collaboration with neighbouring governments of Chad, Niger and Cameroon to curtail the trans-border movement of Boko Haram insurgents, cut off supply of arms as well as stem the recruitment and training of fresh recruits.
He described stability of the region as a must-project for his administration, noting that nothing can be achieved unless peace was restored to the troubled region.
Earlier, Governor Kashim Shettima, who led the delegation comprising all traditional rulers, elders, elected National and State Assembly members and other stakeholders, disclosed that they were at the resident of the president-elect to congratulate him on his historic victory at the polls and to also remind him of problems affecting Borno State which he already knew.
The governor said Borno people were very much attached to General Buhari given his background as someone that served as military governor in the state decades ago.
According to the governor, the citizens look up to him with so much hope because the president-elect was very much familiar with the problems of the state and how it had suffered in the last six years owing to the massive killings of its people and extreme destruction of communities and public institutions.
He, therefore, pleaded with the incoming president to pay special attention to the affairs of the state.
On his part, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn umar Garbai Al-Amim El-Kanemi, appealed to the president-elect to consider making the federal government take over the welfare of youth volunteers fighting insurgency in the state, noting that the Borno State government had been spending so much on them in addition to the huge expenditure in managing the Boko Haram insurgency, besides spending on capital projects and payment of salaries of workers.
The Shehu further appealed for Buhari’s intervention on the resumption of commercial airlines at Maiduguri International Airports which was suspended almost two years ago.
Also, the chairman of Borno Elders Forum, Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari, expressed optimism that with the incoming president’s track record of service, the elders in the state had so much faith in him and believe that he would address the needs of Borno people and also to move the nation forward.