Funds diverted, used to settle political friends
In Nigeria, the Ecological Fund
ecologicalwas established in 1981 as an
intervention facility to address the
multifarious ecological problems
ravaging communities across the
country, but investigations by
the Nigerian Pilot Sunday has
revealed that the fund has been
turned into a conduit pipe to
siphon money.
With the statutory two per
cent of the Federation Account
paid annually into the Ecological
Funds running into trillions
over the years, the huge amount
remains largely unaccounted for
as soil erosion, flood, drought,
desertification, oil spillage, general
environmental pollution remains
a nightmare in the country.
Our findings revealed that
state governments that are having
ecological problems usually
write to the federal government
for assistance, but in most cases
when officials of the Ecological
Fund Office release money, after
assessment, the money is diverted
for other purposes.
In Benue State for instance, the
new Commissioner for Water
Resources and Environment,
Raphael Wende, confirmed that
huge funds were received in the
past by previous administrations
for intervention, adding that the
new administration is still trying
to unravel what happened to the
money following allegations that
the funds were mismanaged.
The misuse of ecological
funds in the state has become a
reoccurring decimal as none of the
past administrations is exempted
from illegal diversion of the funds.
For instance, in 1999, when
Senator George Akume became
governor of the state, he
constituted a commission of
inquiry to look into the execution
of contracts and projects between
1994 and 1999, where N1.05
billion from the Ecological Fund
was discovered to have been
Chairman of the commission,
Mr. Anthony Hanmation, told
Akume while submitting the
report of the commission, that the
funds were used for the purchase
of security gadgets, office
equipment and other things.
The state also received N2.2
billion under Akume, where he
was alleged to had used CAD
Development Limited, a company
said to be jointly owned by him
and former Senate President,
Iyorchia Ayu, to secure the
contract for the Idye Flood Control
Project in Wurukum, at the cost of
N1.4 billion out of the N2.2 billion
allocated for ecological projects in
the state.
Fifty per cent of the contract
sum was allegedly paid to CAD,
but the company was said to have
carried out only 10 per cent of the
work and abandoned the project.
But the then Commissioner for
Environment, Perter Ochenjele,
claimed that the project was
He also disclosed that N350
million had been expended on
erosion control projects in North
Bank area of Makurdi. But just like
the case of the Idye Flood Control
Project, which was abandoned,
the erosion control projects were
not completed, even though the
company was mobilised to site in
The new Commissioner
for Water Resources and
Environment, Raphael Wende,
also cited the N500 million granted
to victims of flood disaster in the
state in 2012 and said he was yet to
see what it was spent on.
He, however, said the present
governor of the state, Samuel
Ortom, had requested for
N10 billion from the federal
government and promised to
utilise the funds judiciously.
In Anambra State, which is one
of the states facing the devastation
of erosion, the Chairman of Nanka
Erosion Control Committee,
Chief Damian Ogene, said that
Ecological Fund has lost its value
as it was being used to ‘settle’
He maintained that the impact
of the huge amount of money
budgeted for erosion control
has never been realised in most
communities that are supposed to
benefit from the fund.
“There is a lot of politics and
power play in the Ecological Fund
and we are not yet prepared to
manage it until the World Bank
gets involved.
“If the money being disbursed
for ecological problems in the
state were judiciously managed,
the problem would have been
treated and reduced to the barest
minimum,” Ogene said.
Public Relation Officer of
Anambra State Ministry of
Environment, Emma Ifesinachi,
gave Nigerian Pilot Sunday an
insight into how the funds released
by the federal government to the
states disappear as soon as they
are released.
According to him, initially the
ecological funds were disbursed
to the concerned ministries to
tackle the ecological problems
of the states, but now, “the
funds are being released to
the state governments rather
than the statutory ministries of
He declared that these
ministries therefore had lost touch
as to how much is being released
monthly and how much of the
released funds is been applied to
address the ecological problems of
the state concerned.
He however, exonerated the
Anambra State government
saying, “Government of Anambra
State at all levels has shown
commitment to ensure that the
ecological funds are properly
applied and judiciously used for
that which it is meant, so as to
bring succour to the affected areas
of the state.”
Our investigations at the
Ecological Fund Office, EFO,
revealed that the federal
government has been losing
billions of through connivance
between officials of EFO,
contractors and consultants.
For instance, when the federal
government embarked on the
National Aforestation Programme,
NAF, many contractors were
engaged to plant millions of trees,
especially in some northern states.
Consultants were engaged
to monitor these contractors
and ensure the exact number of
trees were planted through site
inspection and were even given
brand new Hilux pick-up vans to
facilitate their jobs.
These consultants were also
mandated to maintain site offices
and submit “monthly field
When the contractors complete
their mandate, usually in phases,
the consultant is expected to write
to the EFO to pay the contractor
for work done.
The EFO will then send their
in-house officers to go and inspect
the project and consequently
“money-for-value audit” memo
will be raised for payment.
However, our findings revealed
that in several cases, the number
of trees planted fall short of what
the federal government approved
on the contract agreement, yet
payments were made in full
due to connivance between the
contractors, consultants and
officials of the EFO.
It was also observed that the
EFO officials are capitalising
on the fact that independent
environmental action groups or
the media are not engaged to
monitor their activities to rip-off
the nation of several billions

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