EPO CALLS FOR COLLABORATION WITH STAKEHOLDERS TO ADDRESS THE ECOLOGICAL CHALLENGES IN THE COUNTRY
The Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim, mni has called for collaboration between the Federal Government with the States and Local Government Areas in the utilization of ecological fund allocations to address the ecological challenges ravaging the country. He said a lot will be achieved if the three tiers of government would pull together their share of the fund for pertinent interventions.
Malam Shehu made this call during a courtesy visit by the Chairman, Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Elder Sam Erejuwa at the Ecological Project Office Conference Room, Thursday in Abuja.
According to him, “since the States have their share, Local Governments have, Federal Government also have, if they are able to pull the funds and work together, it will make more impact. Unfortunately, it is only the Federal Government that has structures to manage its own share of the fund”.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the Ecological Project Office receives 0.55% of the Federal Government 1% share of the fund while the 0.45% is shared amongst four other sister agencies which include: National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and the Nigeria Agriculture and Land Development Agency (NALDA).
He expressed optimism that a synergy between the Federal Government, State Governments and the Local Government Areas will impact more communities and assist the Federal Government take more positive stand while considering the interventions.
The Director, Pollution Control Department in the Office, Mr. Clinton Igwe, added that the office is also in dire need of additional funds to tackle the myriad of the requests received by the office on regular basis.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Chairman of OSOPADEC, Elder Erejuwa, stated that the ecological challenges along the coastal lines of Ondo State is overwhelming and beyond the capacity of the State Government and the agency which is the reason it is seeking the Federal Government intervention . He said the situation was very critical and needed urgent intervention to avert the total extinction of all the coastal line communities in the state.
Erejuwa further described the situation as being pitiable. He said, “The living condition is pitiable and need urgent land reclamation, retaining walls and dredging of the communities. It is certainly beyond us, a whole generation will cease to exist if the situation is not addressed urgently”, adding that many schools in the communities were already submerged and “in the sea” as a result of the coastal degradation.
The OSOPADEC boss also disclosed that , “over 100 communities are affected especially Aiyetoro which is the main stay of the area is almost impassable now. This is a Save our Soul call to keep our people safe”.
The Director, Finance and Accounts of OSOPADEC, Barr Bayo Olanujubo who accompanied the Executive Chairman on the visit said that the agency is open to synergy with relevant stakeholders in addressing the Ecological issues affecting the communities.
In a related event, the Permanent Secretary also received on a courtesy visit , the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba (Dr) Sen.Mahmoud Olalekan Ishola Balogun, ably represented by Senator Prince Muhammad Kola Balogun who conveyed the monarch’s request for intervention on flood control and the ecological issues ravaging the entire Ibadanland.
The monarch commended the Ecological Project Office for previous interventions in his domain but appealed for more in the “troubled spot”, stating that the Federal Government is the last hope of the people.
“We have no other place to go to but to come to you, “this intervention will be an anniversary gift for the monarch who will be marking his one year in office anniversary”. Balogun added.
The Permanent Secretary who received the monarch on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha acknowledged that the request had been captured in the office databank and will be given due consideration and attention.
Eno Olotu (Mrs)
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