Senate Uncovers N16bn Liability In Environment Ministry’s 2022 Budget
The Senate Committee on Environment has disclosed that the sum of N16 billion debt owed by state governments was included in the Ministry of Environment’s 2022 budget to be serviced.
Chairman of the Committee and former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu disclosed this after he presented his budget to the appropriation committee, saying that the debt was owed by state governments and not the federal government.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who dropped the hint during the presentation of his committee’s report before the Committee on Appropriation in Abuja.
Ekweremadu expressed dissatisfaction that similar money of about N6 billion was included in the 2021 budget, which his Committee had queried the Ministry of Environment in times past.
He described as unfortunate, the fact that another sum of N16 billion debt was included in the 2022 budget for the federal government of Nigeria to service.
According to him, the loan was approved by a world institution for states government in the country and not for the Federal, with a moratorium of ten years before the states government would begin the initiation of payment of the loan and wondered why the ministry keeps reflecting it in each year’s budget cycle.
He urged the Committee on Appropriation to write to the Ministry of Finance to find ways of retrieving the N16 billion.
Fielding questions from newsmen, Senator Ekweremadu who failed to mention the states that collected the loan said he foresaw a grand plot to defraud the Federal Government.
Ekweremadu expressed confidence that the Senate Committee on Appropriation would get to the root of the matter and handle the case in the best interest of Nigerians.
Also speaking on the effort to control desertification, he said about 692 million trees are to be planted in 11 states of the North to check desertification in the region.
He explained further that the trees planting would be funded by the Great Green Wall initiative.
He stressed that the initiative has no time frame attached to it, noting that the idea was aimed at addressing issues associated with desertification in the country.
Earlier, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation Senator Jibrin Barau expressed satisfaction with the report and commended the Committee on Environment for a job well done.
Waste Recycling: Minister Lauds UNEP, GEF
The Federal Ministry of Environment and National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) in collaboration with some e-waste recyclers have recycled some 300 tonnes of e-waste in Lagos.
Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, stated this at the closing ceremony of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project on Circular Economy Approaches for the Electronics Sector in Nigeria, held in Lagos
Abdullahi expressed gratitude to UNEP/GEF for the technical and financial support for the project.
He also commended the Lagos State Government for providing the enabling environment for the successful implementation of the project.
Abdullahi said that the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and the Lagos Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) played critical role for the project.
He said that their effort made it easy to achieve the project target of recycling 300 tonnes of e-waste in the state.
According to the Tide source the minister represented by Mallam Stanley Jonah, Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Environmen said that e-waste was one of the fastest growing waste streams globally.
He said that most developing nations have been turned to a dumping ground with the influx of both new and used electrical and electronics.
The minister further noted that e-waste management for most developing countries including Nigeria was primarily handled by the informal sector, who scavenges for valuable material using crude methods.
“They retrieve the economically viable components through dismantling and dispose of the part that is not valuable to them either at open dumpsite or by burning or burying with municipal waste.
“Besides adding harmful element components to the environment, indiscriminate disposal of waste is a lost opportunity for recycling.
“Most solid waste contains some form of recycling materials, including plastics, glass, precious materials and metal.
“This call for concern on the resources efficiency and the attendant problems it poses to human health and the environment,” Abdullahi said.
Also, the Director-General, NESREA, Prof Aliyu Jauro, said that the environmental and health problems associated with e-waste are due to the hazardous material contained in them.
Committee Scores Self High On Refuse Evacuation
The Port Harcourt City Enviromental Sanitation Committee has given itself a pass mark in refuse evacuation and desilting of drainages in the city.
Chairman of the committee, Sir Christian Mgbamoka, who scored the committee high in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt said within the last two years of operations by the committee, the level of cleaniness in the city has improved tremendously.
“Two years now, well, I think we have made some marks”
He said it was obvious that within the past two years, the level of flooding has reduced in the city and blamed it on the regular desilting of drainages across the city by the committee.
“It is obvious that for the past two years we have been embarking on desilting of of our drainages which has reduced flooding within some critical or very important areas in port Harcourt City.
He said areas such as Dr Peter Odili road, the central bank road including front of the state high courts have been affected positively by the committee’s activities.
Mgbamoka also said regular desilting exercise has been carried out within the Dline areas of the city and mile 3.
He said the committee’s plan was to connect all the areas to the interwoba creek with the view to ensuring the free flow of waters
On the incessant flooding at the mile 1market, Mgbamoka blamed the problem on the designing of the drainages in the area.
He said the committee has interfaced with the ministry of works on the issue, adding that the ministry has promised to look into the issue.
The chairman also said the committee has also partnered with the Rivers State waste management Agency (RiWAMA) on prompt evacuation of refuse.
He commended the mayor of the city Sir Alwell Ihunda for his support, adding without him, the committee would have been left with no achievements.
Mgbamoka also commended some residents of the city for their regular supports to the committee.
He said while some of the residents have been of tremendous helps , others have shown no zeal in the cleanup of their environment.
Meanwhile Some youth Corpse members in port Harcourt City local Government council under”The Rivgreen Community Development service (CDS) of the National Youth Service Corpse have carried out a sanitisation exercise at Abali park in port Harcourt City local Government council.
Over 50 corp members were involved in the cleanup exercise.
President Rivgreen CDS of the Nysc Omagbele Fabulous told the Tide that the exercise will be a continuous one .
He added that the next phase of their programm will involve tree planting around the garden city of port Harcourt so that the name will be in tandem with the present state of things in the city.
Group Wants Audit Of Ogoni Clean-Up Project
An environmental group, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, has called on Hydrocarbons Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to commence a comprehensive health and environmental audit of the Ogoni clean-up project.
This was contained in a statement made available to news men in port Harcourt.
The statement also regretted that the clean-up of Ogoniland has taken longer than necessary despite the available resources and manpower made available to the coordinating agency.
The statement congratulated the newly appointed HYPREP Coordinator, Prof. Nenibarini Zabbey, adding that he must do things differently, focus on inclusion of stakeholders in the operations.
It qouted the Director of the foundation Dr Nnimmo Bassey as saying “While we congratulate Prof. Zabbey, we equally take the opportunity to register some key urgent demands and hope that he uses his good office to advocate cleanup of the entire Niger Delta.
“Government should take coordinated action to end pollution including gas flaring.”
According to the statement Nnimo Bassey noted that with Zabbey’s pedigree as an academician and activist, the expectations of stakeholders are high and failure is not an option, calling for regular consultations to complex pollution sites.
“We applaud the appointment, as he has deep knowledge of the Ogoni environment and has done important researches in the area and in the wider Niger Delta region, coming 12 years after the UNEP report and sluggish manner by which the clean-up has been approached,” Bassey added.