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General Board / Shrinking Lake Chad
« on: January 15, 2007, 06:35:06 PM »
Lake Chad fishermen pack up their nets

By Senan Murray
BBC News website, Lake Chad 

Muhammadu Bello and his nine children used to depend on Lake Chad for their livelihoods.

But the former fisherman became a farmer as the waters vanished eastwards from the shores of his village in north-east Nigeria.

Experts are warning that the lake, which was once Africa's third largest inland water body, could shrink to a mere pond in two decades.

A recent study by Nasa and the German Aerospace Centre blames global warming and human activity for Africa's disappearing water.


"Africa is being cheated again by the industrialised West," says Jacob Nyanganji of Nigeria's University of Maiduguri.

"Africa does not produce any significant amount of greenhouse gases, but it's our lakes and rivers that are drying up. America has refused to ratify Kyoto and it is our lakes that are drying up."
Villagers in Nigeria's semi-arid border region with Chad, Niger and Cameroon understand full well the consequences of what is happening.

"I don't know what global warming is, but what I do know is that this lake is dying and we are all dying with it," says Mr Bello.

"Some 27 years ago when I started fishing on the lake, we used to catch fish as large as a man.

"But now this is all the fishermen bring in after a whole night of fishing," he says pointing at tiny catfish piled on the ground in Doron Baga's once-famous fish market.

His family now farm on rich, dark loamy soil that was once part of the lake - growing onions, peppers, tomatoes and maize.

 There are constant arguments over territory between fishermen
Fisherman Muhammad Sanusi 

"This entire area used to be covered with water when I first came here," Mr Bello says with a sweep of his hand as we left the village by car heading towards the lake - a journey which took three hours along a bumpy dusty trail.

As recently as 1966, Lake Chad, which sits between Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, was a huge expanse of water that the locals fondly referred to as an "ocean".

The Central African Republic's Logone and Chari rivers empty into the lake. But reduced rainfall and damming of the rivers means that only half of the water now gets to the lake.

The Komadougou-Yobe River in far north-eastern Nigeria which also feeds the lake now flows only during the rainy season.


"I tell you even animals and birds have been dying around here. There are fewer of them now," says Musa Niger, a fisherman in Duguri, an island village in the middle of the lake.

Another Duguri resident, Umaru Mustapha cuts in. He used to earn $100 a day, but now earns about $6.

"Some of our colleagues are tired of this difficult life and have turned to farming," he says.

"I cannot do this as there are hardly any rains these days and for dry season farming you have to depend on the lake water which is too much hassle," he says.

At the lake bank, workers offload heavy parcels of smoked catfish from locally made boats fitted with outboard engines.

The fish is brought in from the Chadian side of the lake where most of the water is to be found.

Nigerian fishermen who have chased the receding lake to Chadian and Cameroonian territories complain of harassment by tax officials and occasional clashes with locals.

"There are constant arguments over territory between fishermen," says Muhammad Sanusi, a fisherman in Dogon Fili, another village which sprang up in the middle of the drying lake less than 15 years ago.
"It's difficult to determine boundaries on water, yet the gendarmes [from Cameroon and Chad] always come after us and seize our fishing nets and traps and we have to pay heavily to get them back."

He says the arguments often lead to violence among the 30m-strong shoreline communities who are competing for access to water and pasture and some villagers now opt to seek employment in Maiduguri, capital of Nigeria's north-eastern Borno State.

'Global heritage'

For the politicians, there is no arguing with the figures: 40 years ago, the lake was 25,000 sq km and the daily fish catch was some 230,000 tonnes; now it is 500 sq km with a catch of barely 50,000 tonnes.

The Sahara Desert in the north is speeding towards the lake.

"Lake Chad is a global heritage and now a disaster waiting to happen," speaker of Nigeria's House of Representatives said at a recent meeting to discuss ways to save the disappearing lake.

Aminu Bello Masari told the meeting that "already pastoralists have been forced out of the lake to move their herds to the wetter south which has already caused conflicts between herders and farmers".

A plan to channel water from Oubangi River in the Central African Republic to Lake Chad is yet to begin due to lack of funding.

A feasibility study is still being discussed, after which the countries involved hope to approach international donors for funding.

But as livelihoods are destroyed and the desert heads ever southwards, time is of the essence for the planners.

General Board / Gaddafi in Nigeria airport drama
« on: November 28, 2006, 10:56:42 PM »
By Alex Last
BBC News, Lagos

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been involved in a diplomatic incident as he arrived in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for a summit.
Nigerian officials say Col Gaddafi was accompanied by more than 200 heavily armed Libyan bodyguards.

When security officers refused to allow them to keep their weapons, an argument ensued and Col Gaddafi stormed off.

Only when Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo intervened did the bodyguards agree to hand in their weapons.

Foreign ministers from Africa and Latin America have been preparing for the summit which gets under way on Thursday.

The size of Libya's delegation was not a problem, it seems, just the sheer amount of weapons and ammunition they carried.

So Nigerian security refused to let them proceed to the capital.

As arguments raged, the Libyan leader angrily set off on foot, intending to walk some 40km (25 miles) to the capital, before he was persuaded to return to the airport lounge.

By sheer coincidence, President Obasanjo was passing through the airport at the same time.

He intervened in person and proposed that the weapons could be allowed through if they were registered first.

But the Nigerians say that was rejected and the Libyan delegation threatened to fly home.

Incensed, the Nigerians said that was fine with them and told the delegation that instead of the original compromise, they could now only carry eight pistols if they wanted to enter Nigeria, like any other diplomatic security detail.

They ordered that the rest of the weaponry had to be put back on the Libyan official jet.

After a stand-off lasting several hours, the Libyans backed down and finally made their way to Nigeria's capital.

Sports / What about the Super Eagles of Nigeria?
« on: June 25, 2003, 06:31:12 PM »
All I can see on this forum are threads on EPL, Manu, Arsenal and David Beckham..yet not one word about the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Despite the fact that we've been playing many matches recently - even a hig-profile friendly against Brazil - yet no-one said pim about it on this forum. Is it that we do not care about the  National tream or what? Somebody help me here.

General Board / Hausa Fulani and Future..part II
« on: February 16, 2003, 03:30:39 AM »
I originally posted this on the previous thread but I decided it would redirect the discussion a little too much, and thus deleted it. thus i've decided to make a new thread and post it here..

i stumbled on this article while surfing i think it raises certain valid points which concern the North and thus Hausa Fulani. What do you think?

General Board / How students  spend their forced vacation
« on: April 23, 2003, 10:09:12 AM »

Enjoy the linked article...kai, only in Nigeria!

General Board / Breaking News: Saddam Hussein in U.S. custody?
« on: December 15, 2003, 12:36:10 PM »
Heard the news Sunday morning that the man had been caught. I didn't believe it until a few hours later they even produced pictures of the man. Looks like him but i head Saddam had many duplicates :P ??

All in all I think this is certainly good news; perhaps the only good piece of news sinnce the war ended months ago. Unfortunately some ppl  will get carried away now, whereas the job is far from over. Even the idea of trying Saddam is trick; the Council wants to try him locally, others want an int'l tribunal. What do you guys think?

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