By Ismaila Chafe
Germany has set aside 18billion Euro for the recharging of the Lake Chad through the diversion of rivers in the Congo Basin to empty their waters into the lake.
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel announced this on Friday in Berlin after bilateral talks with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, via a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, stated that Merkel spoke at a joint press conference with Buhari.
According to Shehu , both the German leader and President Buhari said they have marked the Lake Chad project as one of their priorities.
“The Lake Chad region is a great priority to us and Nigeria is part and parcel of that.
“And in terms of cooperation, we will earmark 18 billion Euro for Lake Chad region area and 50 billion Euro for the overall areas,’’ Merkel said.
Shehu said the German leader commended the progress Nigeria had made in fighting crime, terrorism and corruption, and promised continued consultation and closer bilateral cooperation.
Merkel expressed concern that the annual illegal migration of 20,000 Nigerians to Germany had become a major issue that needed to be addressed “especially given the fact the emigrants were mostly unqualified for asylum under their own laws.
“We also talked about the migration partnership with the European Union (EU).
“The EU wants to negotiate migration with Nigeria. My point in this is that we need to see to it that human traffickers are out of business.
“We have to strengthen legal migration to also create jobs in Nigeria, jobs possibilities for vocational training, possibilities in education,’’ she said.
In his remarks, President Buhari made a strong pitch for the recharging of the Lake in bilateral talks with the German leader.
He noted that the drying up of the lake had put the 30 million people in the Lake Chad basin area in danger of being forced to leave.
He linked the emergence and spread of the Boko Haram terrorism as well as the increasing number of illegal migrations to Europe from Africa to joblessness, starvation and poverty, partly arising from climate change as manifested by the drying up of the Lake.
President Buhari welcomed the German offer of skills and vocational training of Nigeria’s teeming unemployed, training and provision of equipment and intelligence to combat criminality and terrorism in the North-East.
He added that his administration also welcomed the intervention of Germany in checking the menace of vandalism of oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta region and frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
The President also acknowledged the more than 100 German firms in the Nigerian economy and thanked Chancellor Markel for her encouragement of more of such firms to invest in Nigeria.