Following recent cases of flood in various states, the presidency has asked Nigerians to demand more from state governments on the judicious use of the Ecological Fund.
According to a statement by the presidency, President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said this at the weekend on ‘Hannu Da Yawa’, a programme on FRCN Kaduna. He said states take a large chunk from the ecological fund and Nigerians should demand more from them.
“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 1 per cent.
“From the 1 per cent the FG gets, NEMA takes 20 per cent for its operation,” he said.
The presidential aide noted that lately, disaster management in the country is gradually being ceded to the federal government by other tiers of government.
“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?”
“Nigerians, at the state and local governments, should demand transparency and accountability in the management of ecological funds by their Governors and local government chairmen.
“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.
At least 16 states have had various degrees of flooding in 2017 with the most prominent being Benue that led to the displacement of thousands of people from their homes.
Although President Buhari is yet to visit Benue, PREMIUM TIMES reported how Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led a government delegation to the state and also visited the occupants of the displaced persons camp in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
In his statement, Mr. Shehu said the Buhari administration will ensure the timely release of the Ecological Fund to states so that they can address their relevant challenges.
“The Buhari administration will under no circumstance abandon its humanitarian obligations to alleviate the distress of flood victims,” he said.
“In spite of Nigeria’s technological limitations and the paucity of funds to handle or manage large scale and complex emergencies, the APC administration will leave no stone unturned in offering succour to victims of natural disasters across the country.”
Mr. Shehu said the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation has also been mandated to step up the provision of relief infrastructure to those in need.