Senator accuses FG, states of misusing N500bn Ecological Fund

Senator accuses FG, states of misusing N500bn Ecological Fund

A lawmaker, Mohammed Hassan, has accused the Federal and State governments of misusing the Ecological Fund to the tune of N500 billion in the last 15 years.

The senator stated this on Wednesday at a lead debate on the Ecological Fund Bill.

The bill which passed Second Reading at plenary, aims to regulate the operations of the Ecological Fund. Specifically, it seeks to ensure that the fund applied solely for the purpose of environmental and ecological problems.

Hassan said when passed into law, the legislation will aid the National Assembly in its oversight functions on the utilisation of the funds.

According to the sponsor of the bill, in 2013, the Senate Committee on Public Accounts Report
uncovered a massive abuse and misappropriation of the funds which included N154.9bn on projects not related to the environment, adding that N93.7 billion was illegally transferred from the Ecological Fund to the Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2009.

He attributed poor implementation of ecological funds to increased vulnerability of many states to the recent scourge of floods and gully erosion.

“The utilization of ecological fund, particularly since the return to civilian rule in 1999 has been embroiled in endless controversies that in most cases are hinged on gross mismanagement.

“Hence, rather than serve as a veritable tool for addressing the myriads of the country’s ecological problems, the utilization of the fund was embroiled in endless controversies that is related to transparency,” he said.

Senate President Bukola Saraki who presided over plenary, referred the bill to Committee on Ecology and Climate Change to report back in four weeks.

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