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FLOODS: Nigerian govt revisits spending of ecological funds, demands explanation from govs



The federal government on Wednesday increased pressure on state governors to account for the funds they collected, this time focused on ecological funds.

President Muhammadu Buhari accused state chief executives of stealing money from local governments last week, with Clement Agba, the minister of state for budget and national planning, also accused them of exacerbating poverty by setting the wrong priorities.

The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, who is the latest to query the governors, spoke at the eighth edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Scorecard media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja.

He emphasized the need for the governors to account for the billions of naira they have amassed over the years on behalf of their states.

He said any criticism of the federal government was wrong and accused governors of avoiding responsibility in response to reports that state governors were criticizing the federal government over the use of the Ecological Funds after a recent flood disaster in the nation.

However, the Minister applauded Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and other individuals who, in his opinion, have spoken out over funds received by their states.

READ ALSO:FLOODS: SERAP sues Buhari for failure to probe ‘missing trillions of ecological funds’

The Minister said: “Federal government is accused by states. It is normal. It’s the nature of the kind of Constitutional arrangement we have where we have the subnational shying away from blame.

“You and I know that each state…when the states argued…initially, the federal government handled Ecological Funds but the states argued that they must be given their own share of the Ecological Funds and the federal government accepted. And at every FAAC allocation, they give their own share of the allocation to the states.

“So, to come out and accuse the federal government of inaction is very unfair having gotten a fair share of your Ecological Funds over the years.

“So, I find that very amusing because each state is paid its share of the Ecological Fund.

“But in spite of that, from the share of federal government allocation of Ecological Fund, the federal government still intervenes in states.

“So, I think the question should be more to the states – what are you doing with your share of the Ecological Funds? Not the federal government.

“The federal government has been overstretched by the states and they have done their best to support the states.

“Two, because the flood is a national emergency, I’m aware that the federal government has directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to interfere and they are giving a lot of support, which is outside my purview as the Minister of Environment. But I know that the federal government is giving such much support to states.

“Sometimes, we have to thank governors like Wike who come out to say, ‘look, we’ve been given this amount of money,” while other states are quiet.”

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