The presidency on Sunday expressed the readiness of the Federal Government to ensure timely release of the Ecological Fund to enable states tackle pressing environmental challenges in their localities.
It however pointed out that Nigerians have a role to play by demanding more from state governments on the judicious use of the Ecological Fund to be released.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who made this assertion, assured that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would continue to assist flood victims across the country.
Pointing out that states take a large chunk from the Ecological Fund, he said at an audience participatory programme on FRCN Kaduna that it was the right of citizens to demand the judicious use of the fund.
“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 Federal Government gets, NEMA takes 20 per cent for its operation,” he said.
Shehu observed that disaster management in the country was gradually being ceded by other tiers of government to the Federal Government, and reiterated that Nigerians should demand transparency and accountability in the management of ecological funds, at other tiers of government.
According to him, “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.”
So far, no fewer than 16 states have been affected by varying degrees of flooding in 2017 with the most prominent being Benue where Nigerians in their thousands have been sacked from their homes and are now housed at IDPs camp.
The President’s media aide disclosed that the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation has also been mandated to step up the provision of relief infrastructure to those in need.