President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the determination of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to help the Inter-Basin Water Transfer project, proposed at channelling the Lake Chad.
Concise News learned that President Buhari on Saturday in Mecca, speaking at the opening of the 14th Summit of the OIC hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, disclosed that the shrinking of Lake Chad to about 10 per cent of its original size had unfavourably affected over 30 million livelihoods in the sub-region.
According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Buhari maintained that the shrinking had caused severe economic deprivation, engineered illegal migration to Europe, the displacement of communities and radicalization of youth, forcing them to join the Boko Haram terrorist group.
He said: “In this connection, we welcome the various interventions under the Special Programme for the Development of Africa, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development and the recently approved Science and Technology Fund, among others.
“We urge them to do more as their contributions towards poverty alleviation and peacebuilding.’’
President Buhari commended the hearty interventions of the various OIC institutions, particularly the IDB Group, saying it had been effective in such key sectors as trade and investment, agriculture, rural development and food security.
He said: “For instance, we in Nigeria appreciate the Bank’s support for our National Food Security Programme and the various roads, school rehabilitation projects and the Second Niger Bridge.
“I am confident that the continued support of our multilateral partners, notably the OIC and the Islamic Development Bank Group, would be most needed as we seek to redouble our efforts in the next phase for the realization of rapid socio-economic development in Nigeria and the continent at large.
“In the cultural field, we acknowledge the importance of the OIC programmes, aimed at combating Islamophobia and the defamation of religions.
“We are convinced that the values of tolerance and moderation should continue to guide our actions as we collectively seek to promote global harmony, peace and security.’’
Speaking on technology and innovation, the President acknowledged the intervention of the OIC in the field of science, stressing the significance of the OIC Science and Technology Agenda 2026.
He said, ”science, technology and innovation, as well as information and communication technologies, are crucial to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and OIC 2025 Programme of Action.”
Therefore, he reemphasised the determination and commitment of Nigeria to support collaborative research programmes on science and technology.
Buhari affirmed the African Group’s commitment to engage and cooperate with all Member States towards the success of the 14th OIC summit.