WHERE IS THE “NATIONAL ECOLOGICAL FUND” TO ASSIST FLOOD VICTIMS?

Filed under: National Issues |

Nigeria and natural disaster has never crossed path in history. I can barely think of any one instance to referred to. That, is the extent to which this country is blessed. However, all that has changed with the recent flood whose target is to wipe out the entire Southern and Western part of the country. Being Nigeria’s first experience is not an excuse for the government to just sit there and do nothing. The thought of the relieve materials sent to the affected areas is psychologically demoralizing and suicide driven, because there are long term implications as a result of the incident as farm lands have been destroyed, domestic animals killed, the huge economic losses both from natural and man-made have escalated.

National Ecological Funds (NEF) is an intervention facility put in place by the Federal Government to mitigate ecological problems which are of enormous proportions in all parts of the country, especially those exceeding the financial capability of States. It is constitutional provision that 1% of the federally accrued revenue be set aside 4 tackling ecological challenges that include desertification, drought and soil erosion.
This Ecological Fund was established in 1981 and since its establishment, the people that were charged with judicious use of the fund has decided to help themselves, to build own houses and buy cars for there families and concubines as against the targeted purpose.
Over N400 billion has been stolen (or in their case, misappropriated) from the coffers of the Ecological Fund. A committee was set up as usual to investigate this embezzlement, Senator Ahmed Lawal as the chairman of the committee, from the record available to the committee members, about N928 billion was spent in 2002 on projects not related to ecology, with N200m advanced to the Edo State Government as a loan, and N728m was given as a grant to the presidential research and communication unit.

While still wondering how far these money has gone, the permanent secretary of Ministry of Finance, Mr. Danladi Caephas, said that the President has right over the fund meant for taking care of the environment in case of any hazards such as the one the country at the moment, is witnessing in every State of the nation. In fact he went ahead to recall when the President took over N1.2 billion out of the fund to finance his campaign during the election. Mr Tolu Makinde, the Director of the National Ecological Fund, who was seriously accused of total mismanagement of the fund in conjunction with Dr Macjohn Nwaobiala, the Permanent Secretary, claimed, in a visit to the flood ravaged places in Bayelsa State, that they have donated relief materials to the affected homes, when truly, what was provided will further impoverish the people.

Over 29 States in the country are affected by flood, and over 1.6 million Nigerians are displaced from there homes and thousands of lives has been lost including there farm lands and animals, economic activities in those areas are on complete standstill. The President instituted a committee to take care of the welfare of these people, making available about N17.3 billion to alleviate the suffering of all the victims across the country, the prayers of the affected people right now will be for the money to actually get to them.
It is high time people in the government starts being accountable for there actions and inactions. It is not the first time that directors of ministries, commissions and government personnel decide to help themselves with tax payers money to the detriment of the masses and non have been followed to logical conclusion. The truth remains that, the people in the National Ecological Fund never envisaged this sort of disaster, hence, they embarked on spending spree and flamboyant display of wealth, buying cars with the money, now the major problem for which those money was stashed has surfaced and the money is no where to be found. The government has resulted to individual government persons, like members of house of representatives going back to there constituencies to lend personal help to their communities.

Who in a real sense, is deceiving who?

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