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Germany Pledges $18bn For Lake Chad

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has said her country will earmark about 18 billion Euros for the development of the Lake Chad region. Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the German government for help in the areas of intelligence and training to enable his administration tackle militancy in the Niger Delta region.

Speaking at a joint press briefing in Berlin after their closed door meeting, Merkel flanked by Buhari, said the Lake Chad region is an utmost priority to both country since Nigeria is part and parcel of the region.

Merkel said: 

In terms of cooperation we said we will earmark 18 billion for the Lake Chad region area.

The Lake Chad region is in alarming situation. There are 11 million people displaced. Some of them are starving. There is only 10% of the Lake Chad left.

The president has in his delegation the governor whose province is ravaged by Boko Haram. We are gratified to note that there have been progress in combating them.

She decried that the situation is very complicated in Nigeria because of the fairly high oil prices, fairly high unemployment rate and also Niger Delta crisis. According to her, the two leaders discussed the issue of migration, which is on the top of the European Union agenda. She said the EU wants to partner with Nigeria to tackle the problem.

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, job possibilities for vocational training and possibilities in education. Also in the context of migration partnership, we will also talk about re-admission agreement.

Germany has hundreds of people who will have to be returned to Nigeria and our first interest will be how to help the young people to get job or find a job.

She also commended President Buhari’s effort in fighting crimes and terrorism in Nigeria adding that:

 You see, first the successes of this policies and you also see great readiness of partners in ECOWAS and in the region to participate in this good fight and this good cause.

Today’s exchange has made our relationship closer. There is great potential we still need to tap and particularly in this difficult time we want to stand by your side.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has great potential for economic progress and this current crisis due to low oil price has to be overcome so that your GDP can be boosted and not in decline as is the case right now, she stated.

Commenting on what the German government is doing to help Nigeria recover stolen funds? Merkel said: “Well, I do appreciate him and if he has any indication as to where those funds are we will obviously immediately follow up. Anything the president indicates to us in this respect we will take up. We want to fight corruption with him.

Our foreign minister for example, has been instrumental in establishing international exchange. Our finance minister has worked on this as well. So, in the future, it will be very difficult to get money out of the country to hide them. We will work together with you on this, she added.

On his part, President Buhari expressed appreciation to Germany for the economic and humanitarian help extended to make sure Nigeria clears the Boko Haram terrorists. On the Niger Delta, he said: “The new security problem which is very sad is the Niger Delta where militants are subverting oil installations. We are giving a full briefing to the German government and we will solicit whatever help in terms of intelligence and training they can extend to Nigeria to deal with the problem.

ALSO READ: President Buhari welcomes release of 21 Chibok schoolgirls

Buhari also confirmed that his administration is talking to the leaders of the militants, the militants themselves, traditional institutions and all oil producing companies that have been in Nigeria for more than 30 years.

In terms of the economy, we are lucky this year the raining season was good. We are expecting a bumper harvest. So our bills on importation will be less and we hope that in 18 months there will be food security in Nigeria and in fact we will export most of the food we are importing including rice and corn.

On the release of the 21 Chibok Girls, he said: “you must have heard that we have been able to secure the release of 21 of them, so about 100 more are still in the hands of the terrorist somewhere in the Lake Chad Basin area which include Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria.

In getting this 21 out, we hope we will get enough intelligence to go about securing the rest of them.

We are very grateful for the UN participation in trying to secure the release of these girls. Please don’t forget that the overall scene of the operation of the terrorist is Nigeria.

He disclosed that at least 37,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram, adding that the country have about 1.5 to two million people in IDP camps. “ 60% of them are women and children and 60% of those children are orphaned. They don’t even know their parents not to talk of where they come from.

He further stated that: “this is a major government problem which they have to face because the government has to provide the infrastructure especially for education and health, take them back to their villages and towns and reintegrate them so that they can have normal life adding that In all these, Nigeria appreciates the participation of German government each time we ask for its help.

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