The Federal Government will ensure the timely release of the Ecological Fund to states to address pressing environmental challenges in their localities.
This comes from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, who pledged that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would continue to assist flood victims across Nigeria.
“The Buhari administration will under no circumstance abandon its humanitarian obligations to alleviate the distress of flood victims,” Shehu said on Sunday at an audience participation programme on FRCN Kaduna.
“In spite of Nigeria’s technological limitations and the paucity of funds to handle or manage large scale and complex emergencies, the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration will leave no stone unturned in offering succour to victims of natural disasters across the country.”
On the Ecological Fund, he said it was the right of citizens to demand the judicious use of the fund, which he said was distributed among the three tiers of government from the Federation Account.
The presidential aide said, “The largest chunk of the fund goes to the states and local governments. Every month, states and local governments receive 1.4 per cent from the Federation Account as Ecological Fund, compared to the Federal Government’s share of one per cent.”
“From the one per cent the FG gets, the National Emergency Management Agency takes 20 per cent for its operation.”
He lamented that lately, disaster management in the country was gradually being ceded to the Federal Government by other tiers of government.
According to Shehu, whenever there is an emergency from natural or man-made disasters, “all you hear is ‘where is Buhari, what is he doing? What happens with the other tiers of government?”
He asked Nigerians to demand transparency and accountability in the management of ecological funds, at the state and local government levels.
“Without accountability by local political leaders, the Federal Government would continue to be the scapegoat for the failure of states and local governments to use ecological funds for the purposes they were released,” he said in a statement signed by the Deputy Director of Information, State House, Attah Esa.
The presidential aide, however, hinted that the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation has been mandated to step up the provision of relief infrastructure to those in need.