–Says FG plays its part, state govts must fulfil their obligations
Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA — Revisiting the flooding that devastated some states recently, Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Abdullahi, has asked Nigerians to seek answers from their respective governors on what they did with the huge sums of money they receive routinely from the Federation Account for ecological challenges.
Recall that the Federal Government, recently accused the state governors of stealing local government funds, which was why poverty was prevalent in the country as well as inhibiting development at the grassroots.
But the governors fired back, under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, saying the claim by the Federal Government that states were responsible for the rise in poverty rate was baseless, even as they blamed the problem on President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s failure to check insecurity.
Speaking, yesterday, Minister of Environment said, if the governors had deployed ecological funds to tackling ecological problems in their respective states, the level of flooding that Nigeria experiences yearly, would not have been as devastating as they have been, leading to the loss of lives in most cases.
Recall that the recent flooding severely affected Kogi, Benue, Delta, Bayelsa and Jigawa states, with lives lost, many houses submerged and property destroyed.
Dr. Abdullahi maintained that while the Federal Government through the relevant ministries and agencies, including that of Environment have their roles to play in controlling and mitigating flooding, state governments must do their part with the huge sums of money they collected 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 briefing coordinated by the Ministry of Information in Abuja, yesterday.
The minister, who reeled out an avalanche of achievements said to have been recorded by the Environment Ministry, announced that it generated the sum of N8.7billion internally through environmental services and paid it into the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government.
He also announced that Nigeria had put many measures in place to mitigate the impact of climate change and ensure that the country was 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.”
up in progress
The minister also announced that work on the clean-up of Ogoni land in Rivers State, was in progress and in accordance with the timeline developed between Nigeria and the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP.
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 achieved 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 the country from a baseline of 90 hectares in 2019 to 6007 as at the second quarter of 2022 while the planting of trees increased from one million to nine million in 2022.