Borno State governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, alongside seven other state governors within the Lake Chad region, on Monday, met in Younde, Cameroon, to discuss regional security cooperation and path to improve stability.
The meeting had six governors in attendance, namely Governor Zulum from Nigeria, Issa Lamine of Diffa in Niger Republic; Midjiyawa Bakari of Far North of Cameroon; Abate Edii Jean from North Region of Cameroon; Mahamat Fadoul Mackaye from Lac Province of Chad and Amina Kodjyana Agnes – Hadjer Lami also from Chad, while governors of Adamawa and Yobe States in North-East Nigeria, were represented.
Organized by the Lake Chad Basin Commission, with technical support from the African Union, United Nations Development Programme and Crisis Management Initiative, the meeting was hosted by the Cameroonian Government in collaboration with the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum.
The meeting, which was declared open by the Cameroonian Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute, accompanied by the Mayor of Younde, Mr Luc Messi Atangana, discussed security issues with focus on terror attacks and humanitarian impacts in the region.
The meeting also reviewed implementation of strategies for regional stabilisation, which were adopted in 2019, during a similar meeting in Niamey, Niger Republic.
Governor Zulum in his contributions, tabled Borno’s position, calling for the need to drastically raise the level of trans-border cooperation on security before strategic and territorial action plans can 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.
Zulum expressed great concern over the non-utilisation of Lake Chad Basin’s shore which he noted, can provide huge economic potentials to benefit the people of the region.
Already, Borno State government was making effort, he said, towards establishing free trade zones in Banki town, 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 Chad region in line with territorial action plans for stabilisation.
The governor, therefore, called on member-states to engage in identifying and addressing root causes of Boko Haram crisis, and combine measures other than military operations.
Zulum also raised issues of de-radicalisation of persons previously associated with Boko Haram. He highlighted measures for youth engagement, through education, skills acquisition and social development programmes.