Ijeoma Agudosi/Yemisi Izuora
The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, has called on the federal government to effect release of the ecology fund meant for state governments.
Yari made the call when he led governors of six states to a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr, Godwin Emefiele, over some issues relating to the management of the ecology fund.
The state governors that accompanied Yari to the closed door meeting are the the governors of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; Kaduna, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai; Osun, Rauf Aregbesola; Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal; Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa; and Katsina, Aminu Masari.
Yari, who is also the governor of Zamfara State, told the media after the meeting that the governors decided to meet the minister to request the disbursement of the ecology fund.
The fund, which originally received one per cent of the Federation Account, was reviewed upwards to two per cent of the Federation Account in 1992.
From its inception in 1981, it has been a first line charge which provides handy resources for amelioration of ecological problems such as soil erosion, flood, drought, desertification, oil spillage, pollution, general environmental pollution, storm, tornadoes, bush fire, crop pest, landslide, and earthquakes.
The enabling statutes have, over the years, placed the ecological fund under the control of the Federal Government; to be disbursed and managed in accordance with such directives as may be issued from time to time.
Based on the analysis of the table of distribution from FAAC obtained from the website of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, a total sum of N47.89bn was allocated for 2014, while 2015 had an allocation of about N60.9bn.
This brings the total amount allocated for ecology in both years to about N107.79bn.
Yari said that most of the states are currently facing environmental challenges and as such cannot continue to wait when there is a fund that could be used to address the problem.
He said that, for instance, the South-East is having the challenge of erosion, while the South-South and the North are battling with the issue of oil spill and desertification respectively.
He said, “We are concerned seriously about the environment. The desertification in the North, South-South oil and gas spill and erosion in the South-East. And we have a lot of funds in the ecology stabilisation funds.
“And those funds are not being discussed at the National Economic Council. What we discuss at NEC is usually briefing on excess crude account and the Federation Account.
“But this fund is not being discussed at that platform. So, we will like to have this fund every month because those funds are federation funds and we are having so many problems. We need the money.
“Also, there are funds from the foreign intervention in relation to the environment, so we are discussing with the minister of finance and CBN governor on how states can easily access those funds.”
When asked if the states are also requesting for fresh bailout from the federal government, Yari said there are no such requests.
He said the states are only asking for the disbursement of the fund to address the level of environmental degradation in their respective states.