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SGF opposes ecological bill

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, has opposed the bill seeking to establish the regulation of ecological funds to address Nigeria’s ecological challenges and other related matters.

The SGF, at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Ecology yesterday, said the bill will politicise operations of the office. Represented by Mr. Igwe Clinton, Director, Pollution Control, the SGF said: “The bill as presented will negatively politicize the operations of the Ecological Fund Office such as what has been the bane of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“The creation of an independent agency, as the bill is seeking to do, will run contrary to the proposals of the Oransanye Committee on rationalisation of government ministries and extra ministerial departments as it would further add to the cost of governance.

“The bill as proposed will be interfering with the mandates of other Federal Government establishments such as National Emergency Management Agency, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency and National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency as duplication of function.” He argued that the establishment of a Governing Council in the bill is a replication of the erstwhile bogus National Council on Ecological Problems (NCEP), the large number of membership makes the project selection, procurement and execution of projects cumbersome and problematic.

He submitted that: “The proposed bill will, therefore, negate the nature and original design of the Ecological Fund Office.” Earlier, the House Committee on Ecology threatened that it would suspend the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) from further accessing the Ecological Fund.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Ibrahim Isiaka, said that the two agencies had up to December 31, 2020, to make amend in order to avert the impending wrath of the Green Chamber. He said that the committee had made several appeals to the agencies on this matter, but till date, they have remained adamant. The chairman wondered that these agencies were drawing funds every month from the ecological funds and spending same, but were not willing to account for it and were not even present at the public hearing on the bill.

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