By Tosin Omoniyi
Eight governors from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad will this week meet in Niamey, Niger, alongside several CSOs and global stakeholders to deliberate on the crisis rocking the Lake Chad region and offer solutions.
The governors include the Governor of Extreme North, Cameroon; Governor of North Region, Cameroon; Governor of Diffa, Niger; Governor of Adamawa, Nigeria; Governor of Borno, Nigeria; Governor of Yobe, Nigeria; Governor of Hadjer Lamis, TChad and the Governor of Lac Region, TChad
The second meeting of the ‘Governors’ Forum’ will be co-chaired by these governors whose areas are most affected by the deadly Boko Haram insurgency and attendant insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin.
It will take place in the capital of Niger, Niamey, and will be hosted by the Government of Niger from July 16 – 18 2019.
The organisers, who also have support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said the aim of the event is “to enhance joint efforts, coordination and. regional ownership to resolve the crisis by promoting cross-border dialogue, cooperation and exchange, and to support ongoing national, regional and multilateral efforts towards stabilisation in the Lake Chad Basin (LCB)”.
Since 2009, the Lake Chad Region has been severely impacted by the crisis triggered by the Boko Haram insurgency and the interplay of other causes, causing massive internal and cross border displacement, destruction and human rights abuses.
In light of these challenges and recognising the need for enhanced cooperation and harmonisation of measures to respond to its impact and to effectively address its root causes, the governors of the eight worst-affected areas in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria met in May 2018 in Maiduguri, Nigeria, to establish the Governors’ Forum for Regional Cooperation on Stabilisation, (“the Governors’ Forum”).
For the first time, governors from the LCB region jointly discussed common challenges, and potential measures and crafted policies to resolve them.
The meeting was attended by governors from Borno and Adamawa (Nigeria); governors of Diffa and Zinder (Niger); governors of Lac and Hajder Lamis (Chad); and governors of the North and Extreme North (Cameroon).
It was also attended by civil society representatives from the four LCB countries, donor countries of the Forum and other supporting countries, international and regional organisations, the Nigerian military and the MNTJF.
The inaugural meeting concluded with a stated commitment, in the form of a joint communiqué by which the governors expressed their wish to play a central role in regional stabilisation.
They equally recognised their unique leadership position to advance regional stabilisation, recovery and resilience in the LCB region.
The second meeting of the Governors’ Forum on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week aims at advancing the deliberations made by the first Governors’ Forum meeting in 2018.
The Forum is expected to build on the inaugural meeting in Maiduguri and the political endorsement of the Lake Chad Basin Regional Stabilisation, Recovery and Resilience Strategy.
The main objective of the meeting is to further institutionalise the Governors’ Forum as a formidable platform to tackle the challenges in the region.
The three-day event is expected to host over 300 participants, and delegates from national institutions and government, UN agencies, continental and sub-regional bodies such as the African Union, armed forces, MNJTF, ECOWAS, ECCAS, civil society groups, think tanks, academia, and private sector from the Lake Chad Basin region.