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Cross River highway project threatens over N300b donor funds to Nigeria

By Anietie Akpan, Calabar   |   04 October 2016   |   5:00 am
 Odigha Odigha.

Odigha Odigha.

Nigeria may lose about $1 billion (over N300 billion) grant from the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) and others if the proposed 260-kilometre super highway project of Cross River State is executed .

The planned construction, environmentalists feared would destroy virgin vegetation and forest along the road route.

The state government had on January 22, 2016 revoked the Certificate of Occupancy of the land along the highway from Esighi, Bakassi Local Government Council to Bekwarra Local Government Council. This covers a distance of 260 kilometres approximately and having an offset of 200 metres on either side of the centre line of the road and further 10 kilometres.

The state government’s action has generated concern from many stakeholders, which include the NGO Coalition for Environment (NGOSE), whose objectives, among others, include promoting environmental sustainability through education and community participation and to conducting research on environmental issues.

A member of NGOSE Board of Trustees, Dr. Odigha Odigha told newsmen in Calabar that Nigeria’s plan to access UN-REDD and other programme funds on climate change is in danger due to inconsistent government policies.

According to the environment expert, Nigeria has endorsed a lot of international treaties and domesticated some of them, which include diversity climate, the climate change agreement lately and the UN-REDD programme using Cross River as a pilot.

Odigha maintained that it is only proper and show of integrity that the nation honours the agreement that it has endorsed.

“Cross River State is a pilot site to the REDD programme, which is operational here and as I speak we are at the stage of submitting the REDD strategy and there is a validation going on that will open Nigeria up to accessing some good funds and some other things,” Odigha added.

He explained: “The UN-REDD programme, talking specifically is in its readiness stage. To get to this stage, I know very authoritatively that Nigeria has received $10 million to get ready, held meetings, began to put structures together to monitor the forest. A series of meetings has been holding in Calabar in this regard. Last month, we were privileged to attend the UN-REDD meeting where they are trying to get inputs from the people. When these strategies are constructed, Nigeria can now access a substantial amount of funds.”

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  • EyeServis


    This scenario more than most, demonstrates one reason why our so-called federalism or federation does not and cannot work.

    1) The forest areas impacted are located in Cross River State.
    A supposedly (fiscally) federating unit?

    2) The UNPRED funds are applied for by the FG.
    On behalf of a fiscally federating unit. Why?

    3) The UN grants the fund to the FG.
    On behalf of a fiscally federating unit. Why?

    4) The FG under Buhari adds it to TSA.
    On behalf of a fiscally federating unit. Why?

    5) The FG prioritises use of TSA funds and disburses.
    On behalf of a fiscally federating unit. Why?

    Priorities of the FG includes fighting Boko Haram, which means buying guns and feeding Borno state IDP’s on the back of monies obtained from resources and issues like these from CRS.

    The question now becomes what is CRS in this case supposed to do? Listen to Buhari and UN? Why would and should they?

    The same scenario plays out in most or all fiscal facets of the Nigerian system.

    Take the VAT sector for instance. In the sharia states of Nigeria, Kano is the only state with any reasonable (inward) VAT revenue base. All other sharia states have almost zero VAT collection revenue.

    However, sharia states have banned sale and consumption of alcohol. So, they do not allow (legal) sale or consumption of alcohol. Therefore, no VAT tax is collected on alcohol.

    Note that since alcohol happens to be one of the highest generator of VAT in Nigeria, it means the southern and middlebelt states in Nigeria generate a significant majority of VAT in Nigeria.

    All VAT collected goes into TSA. And TSA shares funds to states based on population. So we have a situation where “monkey-dey-work-baboon-dey-chop” again, with VAT monies coming in on the back of liberalised systems in the southern states which is the shared without recourse to amount generated by state as criteria for sharing.

    Nigeria, in its current form cannot, and will not work. Our youths of today down south refuse to join our fathers in their foolishness and bondage to the predominantly moslem northern hausa/fulani. Yes, we should respect our fathers as we have been brought up to do. But then, they have, and keep leading us to slavery. Olorun ma je! Tufiakwa!! God forbid!

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