Background: The Lake Chad Basin
The Lake Chad Basin is situated between Latitude 12°00’N and 14°30‘N and Longitudes 13° E and 15°30‘E as the 4th largest lake in Africa, providing means of sustenance for 37 million people. At the same time, it delineates the boundary of tour littoral states. The Member States in the basin have a combined total population of 237 million people estimated to reach 390 by 2025. Urbanisation in the basin is about 50%; however, it is projected to 70% in 2030 (Ifabiyi, 2013: 199). The population consists of groups with several linguistic affiliations like the Kanuri, Kanembu, Buduma, Hausas, Godogodo, Mabas, Saras, Tubuos and Fulanis (Maianguwa & Audu, 2017: 328). Though the Lake has shrunk by about 90% couple with the altered focus by anthropogenic activities caused by the problem of climate change, it is still home to 120 species of fishes and 372 birds. The area encompasses the Saharan, Sahelo-Saharan, Sahelo-Sudanian, Sudano-Sahelian and Sudano-Guinea ecological zones as the five bioclimatic zones (Ifabiyi, 2013: 199). The currents of South-west humid Atlantic and the north-east Egyptian hot and dry (harmattan) influence the climate and “consequently the ecological zonation of the basin”.
And the “cool, dry, dust-laden-harmattan” coming from the Saharan in the north during
the winter months is accompanied by low humidity, cool nights, and warm days. In contrast, the moisture-laden winds blow from the Gulf of Guinea in the south during summer "bringing high humidity, rains, and more uniform diurnal temperature. The monsoon advances from the south, so that rains start earlier, are heavier and last longer in the southwards. However, there is high spatial and temporal variability over the entire area” (Ifabiyi, 2013: 199-100).
In terms of trans-boundary waters, the LCB is partitioned into six (6) 6 hydrological units. The first unit, according to Ifabiyi (2013: 200), in the Lake Chad with an elevation of 279 m covering approximately 25,000km” and currently passing through a demeaning shrinkage. The second is the Lower Chari which has the largest rivers and serves as an integral aspect of the basin as it collects water that feeds the lakes. The third is the Flood Plain of the Logona which is a major source of fisheries and livestock and has a landmass of about 25,000km”. The Grand Yaeres and the Waga national parks are all inhabited within this hydrological unit. The third is the Komadogu-Yobe which infiltration and evapotranspiration drain its water, and it has the highest number of dams. The basin is the powerhouse ot food production in Nigeria and neighbourhoods. The fourth unit is the Borno drainage which contains the Yedseram, Ngadda and Gobio Rivers. The Sambisa game reserve that is ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency and serving as a current hideout area for terrorists and other armed groups and Chad Basin National Park are in this unit. The fifth unit is the Bornu Diagnostic Basin which is “an arid basin, and it is a zone of dune mobilisation by trampling livestock and deforestation”. And the sixth hydrological unit is the Lake Filtri which is pasture. “This zone is under intensive competition from indigenous people overgrazing. It is home to conflict over resource use.”
Despite the vast expanse ot land it covers, and the deteriorating effects of climate change it suffers, the general area of the LCB is still identified with varying environmental problems. These include the variability in river regime and water availability. The negative impact ot this is that it resulted in insufficient access to water, low availability of livestock, unfruitful crops cultivation, reduced fishing rate, skyrocketing unemployment and a heightened level of poverty in the area with high consequences on Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger. Second is the “decreased viability of biological resources” this reduced the productivity of the ecosystem, accentuated poverty, and loss of biodiversity. The third impact is that of pollution caused by the lack of compliance in the implementation of environmental standards to control pollution and other environmental hazards. While the third is the “loss and modification of ecosystem” caused by the heightening desiccation due to population explosion and massive urbanisation has destroyed the area by about 50%, and “endangered wetlands of the LCB” (Ifabiyi, 2013: 201—202). Despite these problems, the area constitutes a strategic pot for sub-regional food security for countries bordered by the Lake Chad (Umara, 2014a :93) and has continued to provide means of economic livelihood for millions of people cohabiting within the areas in the four riparian states of Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Nigeria (Onuoha, 2009). Important to differentiate that, the critical area of study in this Chapter is the northern Cameroon which spanned across Fotokol with proximity to Abadam in north Borno state in Nigeria, southwest of Chad and DifTa area which is southeast of Niger as the area circumference is worst hit by the dreaded activities of insurgent groups and other transnational armed elements. Having analysed the terrain configuration of the region to aid the understanding of the region’s dynamic peculiarities, the next section will unpack the VNSAs in the LCB region.