…Says Nigeria has measures in place to contain climate change
…reveals FG nets N8.7 billion from environmental services
Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
Alarmed by the perennial flooding that devastates Nigeria annually, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Abdullahi, has asked Nigerians to seek answers from their governors on what they do with the huge sums they receive routinely from the federation account for ecological challenges.
The minister said if the governors had deployed ecological funds to tackling ecological problems in their respective states, the level of flooding that confronts Nigeria yearly, would not have been as devastating as they have been in recent years, leading to the loss of many lives in many cases.
Dr. Abdullahi maintained that while the federal government through the relevant ministries and agencies including that of environment has it role to play in controlling and mitigating flooding, state governments must do their own part with the huge sums they collect for ecological purposes.
The minister spoke while presenting the scorecard of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the environmental sector from 2015 till date at a news conference coordinated by the Ministry of Information in Abuja on Wednesday.
The minister who reeled out an avalanche of achievements said to have been recorded by the Environment Ministry, announced that it generated and paid into the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government the sum of N8.7 billion it generated internally through environmental services.
He also announced that Nigeria had out in place various measures in place to mitigate the impact of climate change and ensure that the country is not left behind in the energy transition process.
The minister said, “We are at the forefront of benefitting from climate change fund, which is being put together as a global fund. We have an action plan in place to ensure that Nigeria benefits from it by identifying projects and programmes that support our transition from carbon to renewable energy.
The minister also announced that work on the clean-up of Ogoni land was in progress and in accordance with the timeline developed between Nigeria and the United Nations Environmental Programme.
The minister said, “The ministry, conscious of the need to ensure effective and timely implementation of the UNEP report on the Ogoni clean-up in line with Mr. President’s commitment, has achieve the remediation of 21 sites covering about 230 hectares out of the 65 sites reported in the UNEP factsheet and accessed additional 213 grids consisting of 200 by 200cms per grid shorelines which will pave way for the actual clean-up and remediation of 635 hectares of contaminated shorelines and planting of mangroves seedlings of the clean-up shoreline areas.
But to pave way for the operation, the minister said a number of initiatives had been undertaken to give succour to the Ogoni people and add value to their lives, among them the construction of water supply schemes with the capacity of supplying Eleme, Gokana, Tai, Khana communities and the training of no fewer than 400 Ogoni women on agribusiness and the setting up of 20 cooperatives for them.
Additionally, the minister said the sum of N491million was used for the engagement of 500 Ogoni youths as local security at the various HYPREP sites.
The minister said that the ministry was able to recover arable land in the northern part of Nigeria from a baseline of 90 hectares in 2019 to 6007 as at the second quarter of 2022 while the planting of trees increased from 1 million to 9 million in 2022.
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who coordinated the briefing, had earlier disclosed that government had so far realized at least N120 billion as proceeds from criminal financial operations since the Bill on Proceeds of Crime Recovery Management was signed into law earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mohammed said, “I have an update on the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act (POCA), 2022. In line with the new law, all relevant agencies of government have now opened ‘Confiscated and Forfeiture Properties Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“I can confirm that so far, the Federal Government has realized over 120 billion Naira, among other currencies, from POCA.
“This money will be used to fund the completion of ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the country like the Second Niger Bridge as well as Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kano Expressways. We will continue to update you on this,” the Information Minister said.