BY Patrick Andrew
Delegates to the National Conference yesterday voted overwhelmingly in support of a proposal for the Federal Government to set up a Save- Lake- Chad body to oversee the lake and prevent it from further incapacitation.
A delegate , Mahmud Usman, had during a deliberation on the recommendations made the Agriculture Committee penultimate day, suggested that a body be set up to ensure that the Lake is resuscitated.
Usman had pointed that no fewer than five dams are built in the lake by Nigeria alone meaning that Nigeria may have inadvertently contributed to the incapacitation of the lake.
Though Sen. Ibrahim Idah had thrown more light into the efforts made Nigeria and five others to effect a feasibility studies on what to do to revive the lake, Usman had insisted that without a body to take charge of overseeing Lake Chad it would dry off. He argued that the efforts of Nigeria and the surrounding nations had not yielded dividends for 25 years.
But Idah, who said he served in a committee set up by the government in respect of the reviving the Lake Chad, had informed the house that $6m was expended on the project and that what is needed to revive the lake was $25m, which is to be contributed by the countries along the Chad basin and donor nations.
Yesterday, the conference favoured the formation of a body to oversee and manage the lake to ensure that it is being well cared for. Besides, delegates want states which directly benefit from the lake to contribute something in addition whatever proceeds from the other countries and the donor nations.
Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, the deputy chairman, who presided, while putting the amendment to the original recommendation urged the people to give serious consideration to the essentiality of the lake especially as its affects power generation for Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the conference rejected the establishment of a National Agricultural Programme Co-ordinating Agency.
The argument had been that such agency would provide technical support to the states in planning, formulating and designing agricultural programmes based on the states priority and comparative advantage, working closely with the state agencies.
It would also assist the states in carrying out periodic evaluation and particularly impact assessment of the state and federal projects and programmes; and coordinate the gathering, up-dating and dissemination of national agricultural data including marketing and price information.
But delegates felt that it would be usurping the function of the Ministry of Agriculture and therefore objected to the establishment by voting overwhelmingly against it.