Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, yesterday, threatened to bar the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) from benefiting from the Ecological Fund, if they fail to account for funds received in the past, by December 31.
The chairman, House Committee on Ecological Fund, Ibrahim Ayokunle, issued the threat at a public hearing on a ” bill for an act establishing the regulation of ecological funds, to address Nigeria’s ecological challenges, particularly erosion, landslide, desertification, flood, oil spillage, drought and for related matters. ”
Ayokunle disclosed that from January to September, 2020, a total of N54,819,713,400.08 has been distributed to the Federal, states, the 774 local government areas, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
However, the lawmaker noted that NEMA and NEDC, which are among the four federal agencies benefiting from the Ecological Fund, have refused to account for funds released to them, despite several appeals from the committee
He decried the increase in the deployment of funds from the Ecological Fund to fund government agencies that equally draw funds from the national budget. And noted that apart from been a deviation from the original purpose of the fund, the development has resulted in the depletion of the Ecological Fund.
” Curiously enough, agencies like NEMA and NEDC have refused till date, to respond to several appeals by the committee requesting for account of their respective shares from the Ecological Fund.
“Let them make no mistake, that if by December 31st, 2020, the two agencies still declined to comply, the Committee shall have not, only have the option of invoking the necessary constitutional provision, but proceed forthwith, to suspend the agencies from accessing any fund from the Ecological Funds,” he stated.