The Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey has commended the Ecological Fund Office for its internal re-engineering just as he appealed to Nigerians to fight against unhealthy practices and behaviours that are not environmental friendly. Mr. Odey gave the commendation in his keynote address at a stakeholders’ forum of the National Committee on Ecological Problems (NCEP)/Ecological Fund Office (EFO) held at Akure, Ondo State Capital.
He commended the Ecological Fund Office for assigning specific number of on-going projects to teams to monitor and report on with a view to track al ecological projects and fish out incompetent and unserious contractors as well as ensure that only competent ones get ecological projects.
The Minister explained that the exercise is to facilitate prompt payment to diligent Contractors and Consultants.
While appealing to Nigerians to cooperate to fight against unhealthy practices and behaviours that are not environmental friendly, Odey noted that in the last two months, the country witnessed heavy rainfalls which left in their trail high level erosion and flooding in some parts of the country and consequent destabilization of families, displacement of large numbers of persons, submerging of villages and destruction of thousands of hectares of farmlands as well as other vital public infrastructures.
He however stated that while it is true that natural phenomenon caused the problem, there is no gainsaying the fact that human factors have played exacerbating roles.
The Minister further urged the three tiers of government, Local, State and the Federal Government to work together genuinely towards saving the environment and making it conducive for economic activities of our people, majority of whom live in the rural areas where they produce the bulk of arable crops we consume as foo, raw materials for industries and exports for foreign exchange.
Mr. Odey also called for cooperation, networking, synergy and partnership in order to effectively tackle the myriads of ecological problems facing our people.
In his address at the occasion, the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko requested for the citing of new ecological projects in the State by the Federal Government in view of numerous ecological problems facing the State. He also urged that the State should be rewarded for putting in place proactive measures against erosion.
However, Dr. Mimiko advised that the Ecological Fund Office should limit itself to defining eligibility criteria for accessing of project funds, while monitoring compliance in order to enhance its efficient performance.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office, (EFO) Mrs. Ibukun Odusote said that the forum was organised to bring all stakeholders together towards effective management of Nigeria’s Ecological Fund, as well as finding lasting solutions to the persistent ecological problems through timely tracking of all Federal Government funded ecological projects.
She added that the forum is expected to come up with better and workable solutions that will give value for money in the timely execution of ecological contracts and by so doing help in the realisation of the Federal Government’s objectives in setting up the Ecological Fund.
Also speaking at the occasion, Hon. Duro Faseyi, Chairman, House Committee on Environment urged that the Ecological Fund Office should fast track approval process of projects to avoid unnecessary delays. He also called for the review of appointing external supervisors for ecological projects.
The event featured the launching of Ecological Fund Office’s Magazine, “Ecoissues” by Governor Olusegun Mimiko.
Present at the occasion were Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries in charge of Environment, Contractors and Consultants in the South West Zone of the Country.