The Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, and seven other governors within the Lake Chad Basin have met in Yaounde, the Republic of Cameroon, to discuss regional security cooperation and to improve stability.
The meeting hosted by the Cameroonian Government in collaboration with the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum, was organised by the Lake Chad Basin Commission, with technical support from the African Union, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Crisis Management Initiative.
It had in attendance six Governors, Professor Zulum from Borno State, Issa Lamine of Diffa, from the Niger Republic, Mr. Midjiyawa Bakari of Far North Cameroon, Mr. Abate Edii Jean from North Region of Cameroon, Mr. Mahamat Fadoul Mackaye from Lac Province of Chad and Mrs. Amina Kodjyana Agnes – Hadjer Lami also from Chad, while Governors of Adamawa and Yobe States in Northeast Nigeria, were represented.
Declaring open the meeting, the Cameroonian Prime Minister, Mr. Joseph Dion Ngute, who accompanied by the Mayor of Yaounde, Mr. Luc Messi Atangana, discussed security issues, which focused on terror attacks and humanitarian impacts in the region.
It also reviewed the implementation of strategies for regional stabilisation, adopted in 2019 during a similar meeting in Niamey, Niger Republic.
Governor Zulum in his contributions tabled Borno’s position, calling for drastic measures to raise the level of trans-border cooperation on security before strategic and territorial action plans could 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 in the shores of Lake Chad in order to clear the insurgents, otherwise, we are not going anywhere,”Zulum noted.
He expressed great concern over the non-utilization of the Lake Chad Basin’s shore, which he noted, could provide huge economic potentials to benefit the people of the region.
He said Borno Government was already making efforts in establishing free trade zones in Banki town of Bama LGA, Gamboru in Ngala, Baga in Kukawa and Damasak in Mobbar LGA all in Borno State, to enhance socio-economic activities within the Lake Region, saying this is in line with territorial action plans for stabilisation.
The Governor called on member states to engage in identifying and addressing the root causes of Boko Haram crisis, as well as combine measures other than military operations.
He also raised issues of de-radicalising persons previously associated with Boko Haram, and highlighted measures for youth engagement, through education, skills acquisition and social development programmes.