THE Federal Government, on Thursday, disclosed that it had received about 1.1 trillion requests data, particularly on soil erosion and flood control.
Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office (EFO) in the Presidency, Dr (Mrs.) Habiba Lawal who made this known during an interaction with journalists in Abuja, said since 2015 till date, no funds were set aside for anything other than the ecological intervention.
According to her, “we have 1.1 trillion request data specifically for soil erosion and flood control. That does not include drought, desertification and coastal zone management, nor does it include pollution control. But I can tell you the largest chunk of our work is soil erosion and soil control. Of all the 88 projects that are ongoing, almost 90% of them are soil erosion and flood control.
“That is not to say that we don’t have issues with flood control but because of the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW) and they are actually doing something similar to that, so we stopped. We are just seeking approval now which has been endorsed that we can also continue the work on desertification and drought.
“If you read the news, all the stories going there is in 2009, 2010, 2013. In this administration, no approval has been granted out of the ecological fund to use the fund for the non ecological issue.”
“The greatest challenge we are facing is the dearth of funds. The country is faced with a lot of ecological issues with meagre funds to tackle them. Regrettably, what we noticed is that while one is being solved, another one is being created.” She affirmed.
While emphasizing on the judicious deployment of ecological funds by the Federal Government to problems across the country, the permanent secretary urged both the States and Local Governments to apply their own shares, rather than rely on government at the centre.
She said if the entire problems were left to the Federal Government alone, much less impact would ensure overall, because of the extent and severity of the ecological problems in Nigeria.
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Dr (Mrs) Lawal, however, said all outstanding completed projects not yet inaugurated would be inaugurated very soon and handed-over to the respective benefiting communities.
“In another few weeks, EFO is going to present to Federal Executive Council (FEC) all the approvals and all projects we have done since the inception of this regime. We also expect that the ministers who will commission and hand over those projects that have been concluded plus those that may be completed in the next two to three weeks will also be approved to that same day so we can plan this for the commissioning and handing over.
“Since the inception of this administration in May 2015, 88 projects were awarded, 45 have been completed and 43 are still on-going. About 90% are on soil erosion because of the prevalence.” She added.
On the public hearing held on Wednesday on the Bill to establish the ecological fund, she said: “my take on the public hearing is that under the past regimes they feel that some of the ecological funds were not utilized for the ecological interventions. Some were utilized for other developmental projects of the country and they feel in order to ensure that ecological funds are restricted to ecological interventions; they sort to put a bill.”