African heads of state from several countries in the Niger River Basin have held a summit meeting in the Nigerian capital of Lagos.
GV Nigerian Institute of International Affairs building in Lagos.
CU Nigerian Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo, addressing conference in English PAN TO Head of State listening (THREE SHOTS)
GV delegates applauding
CU President of Benin Republic, Colonel Mathew Kerekou replying in French to opening address as officials listen (FOUR SHOTS)
OBASANJO: "The economic development of our countries largely depends, among other things, on the development of the basin of our river. The Commission which created long ago was, and still is, intended to serve as a tool for developing close co-operation, for the judicious and rational exploitation of the resources of the River Niger Basin. It is also a tool for the unity of our people inhabiting the vast areas between the Republic of Guinea and the United Republic of the Cameroons. IN this sense, the River Niger, with its tributaries, unites rather than divides us."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: African heads of state from several countries in the Niger River Basin have held a summit meeting in the Nigerian capital of Lagos. The countries are all members of the Niger Basin Commission, an organisation formed in 1963 to promote development of the area and increase economic co-operation between member states.
SYNOPSIS: On Friday (26 January), Nigeria's Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, delivered the opening address at the one-day summit meeting.
Among the countries attending the summit were Niger Republic, Upper Volta, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Republic of Benin. One of the speakers was the Head of State of the Republic of Benin, Colonel Mathew Kerekou.
The Niger River Basin Commission was officially ratified in 1964, in the capital of Niger Republic, Niamey. Among its main aims are an extensive five-year development programme and the successful tapping of the resources of the Niger River Basin for the benefit of its member states.
Heads of state at the summit also discussed problems encountered over the past sixteen years. A statement released after the meeting said members had not, as yet, fulfilled pledges and grants to the Commission worth eighteen-and-a-half million (U.S.) dollars.