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Worried by flooding, SERAP asks Buhari to investigate spending of ecological funds

By Ngozi Egenuka, Silver Nwokoro (Lagos), and Ibrahim Obansa (Lokoja)
24 October 2022   |   3:30 am
SERAP, in a letter, demanded that perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement should face prosecution if there is sufficient evidence of r stolen public funds against them.
Abubakar Malami

Nigeria’s attorney-general and minister for justice Abubakar Malami PHOTO: TWITTER/Abubakar Malami

Expert says well-structured drainage systems is the answer

SOCIO-ECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, and anti-corruption agencies to investigate how Ecological Fund was spent by federal, state and local governments from 2001 to date.

SERAP, in a letter, demanded that perpetrators of corruption and mismanagement should face prosecution if there is sufficient evidence of r stolen public funds against them.

SERAP’s letter followed reports that ravaging flooding in some parts of the country has resulted in the loss of over 600 lives, displacement of more than a million persons, and destruction of properties worth billions. The most affected states include Anambra, Delta, Kogi, Rivers, Benue, Yobe, Cross River and Bayelsa.

In the open letter dated October 22, 2022 and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation alleged that trillions of ecological funds had gone down the drain.

The letter reads: “Although ecological funds are shared across the three tiers of government, and emergency management agencies, the funds are managed and supervised by the Federal Government.

“Your government has the legal obligations to address the calamitous consequences of flooding for the human rights of millions of people, and to prevent and address some of the direct consequences that climate change may reap on human rights, especially given the disproportionate impact on vulnerable people and communities.

“Your government must use all means available to it to prevent and address the threats to human rights that result from climate change, and to provide access to effective remedies for victims when these rights are violated.”

ALSO lamenting the effect of flooding, the Group Managing Director of GText Holdings, Dr. Stephen Akintayo, called for proper drainage and architectural structures.

He made the call during the launch of the firm’s new estate, Sardus Creek, at Ogudu, Lagos. He said: “Nigeria doesn’t have natural disasters. The problem we have is the lack of proper structures for water to flow through. When you don’t have the right structures, you start having issues of flooding. We don’t have sinkhole issues like that in Nigeria; some of our problems are artificial.”

A celebrity stylist, who attended the event, said many young landlords face the problem of allocation.

“The problem many young landlords have in Nigeria is allocation. These days, it is important that you check where you are putting your money. Due diligence cannot be over-emphasised,” she said.

MEANWHILE, the Executive Director, Connected Development (CODE), Hamzat Lawal, has called on government, private organisations and other individuals to assist those displaced.

Lawal made the call in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, while presenting items worth over N2m to flood victims at the Gadumo Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp.
Lawal, who was represented by Umar Dan Asebe Mohammed at the distribution point, noted that government and private individuals must come to the aide of the people in critical need of survival.

Executive Director of Renaissance Care and Empowerment Foundation (RECEF), Idris Ozovehe Muraina, said there were over 500, 000 displaced by the flood in Kogi State, saying that only a very negligible number was accommodated in the camps visited.