Mimiko Seeks Abolition of Ecology Funds
LAGOS, Nov 25, (THEWILL) - Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko Wednesday attributed lack of funds at the state level and the over-centralisation of such at the federal level as part of the factors hampering ecological problems, prevention and control in Nigeria. The governor, who sought immediate decentralisation of the Fund, called on the federal government to immediately evolve urgent proactive intervention measures that would address the lopsided situation forthwith. Mimiko made the observation while delivering his goodwill message to the National Committee on Ecological Problems Stakeholders Forum in the South West Zone held in Akure, Ondo State, lamenting that the meagre resources at the disposal of state governments cannot cope with the gamut of ecological problems. He canvassed the sharing of the Funds while leaving some for direct intervention in cases of ecological emergencies, thereby citing the cases of critical ecological problems the state has been facing to the gathering, which included the Minister of Environment and Chairman of the National Committee on Ecological Problems (NCEP), Mr. John Odey. He said the state ecological problem requires the urgent attention of the federal government and asked for help “to assist in pushing our case to the concerned federal agencies.”
He said: “In view of the global climatic change, the littoral nature as well as other geographical characteristics of Ondo State, ecological problems mount on daily basis. But within the limit of our resource, we have done aggressive tree planting of 540,000 in 2010 and one million would be planted in 2011, re-forestation of forest reserves, all-year round channelization of river courses as well as coastal embankment in the riverine areas. “We also have a responsive Emergency Management Agency that releases needed relief materials to victims of ecological disaster. We are also training our young graduates in renewable energy called Tech Alive programme and they have built perhaps what we can call the biggest solar inverter built locally in Nigeria at the new Neighbourhood Market at Isinkan in the State capital,” Mimiko asserted. He said the dwindling financial resources at the disposal of his state in the face of mounting ecological problems had made it imperative for a proactive intervention of the Federal Ministry of Environment through the Ecological Fund Office. Saying it would be sad to wait for a major disaster to occur before this was done. Speaking at the forum, Odey assured that efforts are “on-going to arrive at suitable ratio for federal-state joint funding of ecological projects which require immediate attention, but are too capital intensive for one tier of government to handle.” The minister charged the local, state and federal governments to strive to genuinely work towards saving our environment and making it conducive for economic activities of our people, majority of who live in the rural areas where they produce the bulk of arable crops which we all consume. But he said the federal government would not be limited to direct grants to states as witnessed recently. According to him, efforts are on-going to arrive at suitable ration for federal-state joint funding of ecological projects which require immediate attention but are too capital intensive for one-tier of government to handle.