EPO seeks increased funding for intervention projects 

The Ecological Project Office (EPO) has restated the need for increased funding for its intervention projects, stating that the present accruals to the office is grossly inadequate to address the barrage of requests by communities for interventions. 

Speaking Wednesday at a one-day public hearing on gully erosion, perennial flooding and desertification in communities in Nigeria convened by the House of Representatives Committee on Environment, the Director , overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Mr  Clinton Igwe,  said the public hearing  is a veritable platform to educate Nigerians on the operations of the office.

The federal government being responsive put in place the ecological fund as an intervention mechanism established in 1981 by the Federation Act was subsequently modified by Decree 36 of 1984, 106 of 1992 as well as the Allocation of Revenue/ Federation Account Modification Order, 2002. 

Igwe explained that due to the various misconceptions about the office, the public hearing is important to make necessary clarifications on how the funds are deployed. 

He said the objective of the fund is to enable government address serious ecological problems across Nigeria and mitigate their impacts. 

The fund shared through the Federation Account Allocation Committee(FAAC) of which 1% of the 2:32% goes to the Federal Government  and 1.32% to the States (0.72 %) and Local Government (0.60%). Meanwhile, the 1% of the Federal Government is further shared between the Ecological Project Office and four other sister agencies, namely: The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Agency for Great Green Wall ( NAGGW), North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and the National Agricultural  Land Development Authority (NALDA). 

He disclosed that between 2015 to date, the government has implemented a total of 353 projects of which 229 have been completed and commissioned, 72 completed and awaiting commissioning while 31 are at various stages of completion across the country.

In his opening remarks, the Speaker, House of Representatives, ably represented by the Deputy Majority leader, Abdullahi Ibrahim Halims, said,  “the public hearing was  designed as a veritable platform for participants to express their views on the diverse impacts of gully erosion, flood disasters on several of our communities across the states”. 

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Pondi Julius Gbabogor, commended members and stakeholders  for committing to the cause of addressing the ecological challenges in the country.