State governors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, on Tuesday called for the immediate disbursement of ecological fund to their respective states.
The Chairman of the Forum, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, made the call on behalf of his colleagues in Abuja.
Mr. Yari had earlier led a delegation of the governors to a closed-door meet with the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Mr. Yari said the governors decided to meet the minister to request the disbursement of the ecological fund to states.
The state governors, who accompanied Mr. Yari to the closed door meeting, were Governors of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai; Osun, Rauf Aregbesola; Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal; Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa; and Katsina, Aminu Masari.
The closed door meeting, which was held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance, began at about 2:37 p.m. and ended at about 3:30 p.m.
The ecological fund, which originally received one per cent of the federation account, was reviewed upwards to two per cent in 1992.
Mr. Yari said most of the states face environmental challenges and as such could not continue to wait when there is a fund that could be used to address the problem.
“We are concerned seriously about the environment. The desertification in the North, oil and gas spills in the South-South and erosion in the South-East.
“And we have a lot of funds in the ecological stabilisation funds. Those funds are not being discussed at 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.
“We will like to have this fund available every month because those funds are federation funds and we are having so many problems. We need the money,” he said.
Yari said the state governments would also want access to foreign intervention in relations to the environment.
When asked if the states also requested for fresh bailout from the federal government, Mr. Yari said there were no such requests.
He said the states are only asking for the disbursement of the ecological fund to address the high level of environmental degradation in their respective states.
From its inception, ecological fund had been on a first line charge which provides handy resources for amelioration of ecological problems.
The problems include soil erosion, flood, drought, desertification, oil spillage, pollution and general environmental degradation.
The enabling statutes have over the years placed the 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 by the presidency.
Between 2007 and 2015, the ecological fund got an average of N48 billion yearly. A total of N432.5 billion accrued to the fund during the nine years.
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