Nigeria did not pledge $1bn for recharging Lake Chad, says Minister

The UNSC had on Monday, called on Nigeria to scale up disbursement of one billion dollars pledged at the Oslo conference on Humanitarian Assistance for victims of Boko Haram insurgency and rebuilding of the North East as well as the recharging of  Lake Chad.

The conference was held  in February.

UNSC delegation to Nigeria had at a news conference in Abuja advised Nigeria to take the lead in honouring its own pledge.

The minister, however, said there was no pledge made by the Federal Government in that regard.

“There is no question of one billion dollars pledge that Nigeria has made in that respect. One billion dollars pledged for the Lake Chad is not correct.

”The sequence of the event is that there was a study to be done whether it was possible to recharge Lake Chad from Central Africa.

”Some years ago, the government put in five million dollars for the study to be done and it has been done,” he said, noting that the report put the cost of recharging Lake Chad at 15 billion dollars.

”Now, since this government came, we have got some other people to look at the study and there seems to be a lot of gaps in the study.

”We are now looking at having a comprehensive feasibility study carried out and that is going to cost about 15 billion dollars to do the study,” he said.

According to him, the Minister of Water Resources and others are to meet at an international donour conference later in the year for financial support for the project.

”Because 15 billion dollars is a huge sum of money, it is clearly something we cannot afford.”

Onyeama said that government might also be considering Public Private Partnership arrangement to mobilise resources for the project.

‘We are moving in that direction, but there is no question of one billion naira pledge that Nigeria has made in that respect,” the minister added. ((TNE)

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