Hon. Uche Ekwunife
Onwuka Nzeshi in Abuja
The House of Representatives has urged state governments across the country to deploy their share of the Ecological Fund towards tackling environmental challenges in their respective domains.
Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Hon. Uche Ekwunife, gave the advice yesterday while reacting to the recent flood that swept through some parts of Plateau State, destroying lives and property.
Ekwunife who described the incident as unfortunate said such massive flooding could be prevented if the various state governments applied the Ecological Fund that accrue to their states in a more effective way.
She decried a situation where some state governments divert the Ecological Fund to other uses only to turn back later to seek help when ecological disasters hit their state.
Ekwunife said the state and local governments should not merely observe routine environmental sanitation days but should take interest in where the refuse generated from such exercises are deposited.
“I think that our environment is highly challenged and we need to take up the challenge before it is too late. State governments should embark on extensive campaigns to encourage citizens to adhere strictly to site plans and building codes. Such information would enable the people to take responsibility for their environment.
“Most state governments are busy planning for environmental sanitation, but they do not have plans for waste management but the debris will find their ways back to the drainages where they were scooped from during the environmental sanitation. When all the drainages and natural waterways are blocked the result is we are experiencing now in Plateau State and other parts of the country,” she said.
The lawmaker also advised Nigerians to take environmental issues more seriously by taking interest in weather forecasts as it affects the location where they live.
According to Ekwunife, the Federal Ministry of Environment has been doing a lot to deliver on its mandate but has been hindered by gross underfunding of its programmes. She however, pledged that the House Committee on Environment would continue to advocate for better funding of the MDAs in the environment sector, given the vital role of the environment to life and sustainable development.