• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Again, Reps summon Ecological Fund, others over N9.2bn cook stoves

House of Reps

House of Representatives has expressed displeasure over the poor implementation of N9.2 billion approved for the procurement of cook stoves.
Bede Eke, chairman, ad-hoc committee investigating the massive deforestation and corruption crippling the environment and its effect on climate change, who frowned at the development, conveyed the resolve of the committee to summon the management of Ecological Fund Office and Department of Deforestation and Desertification responsible for the project implementation.
The lawmaker also demanded for the list, address and details of the amount paid to each of the contractors engaged by the forestry department for the implementation of the tree planting across the 24 states of the federation and FCT.
Eke, who queried the documents submitted by the acting director of Forestry, Michael Osakuade, demanded for update report on the amount spent so far; the survival rate of the tree planted since 2011 as well as procurement minutes, stating how the Committee arrived at the prequalified contractors and newspaper advertisement of the contract.
The lawmakers also queried the sum of N200 million allegedly spent by the Department of Forestry on capacity building.
“There are issues with the implementation of these contracts, we have the Auditor General’s report, we have the ICPC’s report bothering on the activities of the Ministry.
“For you to say, there are no additional report means you are saying we should not do our job and tomorrow when we write an indicting report, you will say you were not given fair hearing! “You just sit down in your office and write report, you think we are joking and we don’t know our job?”
The lawmakers specifically expressed concerns over the failure of permanent secretary of Federal Ministry of Environment to respond to various allegations by providing relevant documents on various project.
While responding, Michael Osakuade explained that the projects ran into problems because of untimely release of funds.
He however noted that the National Council on Environment in 2011 resolved that each of the 24 states and FCT as well as NGOs and Tree Planters were mandated to take over the seedlings procured by the Forestry department.
While reacting to questions on the N9.2 billion cook stove, Osakuade, who denied knowledge of how it was carries out, disclosed that the project was handled by the Department of Deforestation and Desertification.
While speaking before the ad-hoc committee, Goni Ahmed, director-general of the Great Green Wall, called for legislations on eradication of use of firewood in Nigeria.
Goni, who harped on the need to promote alternative energy, noted that the more the planting of tree was done, the more the woods were destroyed.
He lamented that schools, prisons, bakers, suya producers, military, paramilitary, NYSC, as well as agencies carrying out the implementation of school feeding are culpable in the felling of trees across the country.
He further alleged that there was no budgetary provision for the agency since 2014.

 

KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja