Title: Saving Lives and Securing the Environment: Chronicle of Federal Government’s Ecological Interventions
Author: Ecological Fund Office
Publisher: Thinkers Communications Limited
The book, Saving Lives and Securing the Environment: Chronicle of Federal Government’s Ecological Intervention, is a painstaking effort by the Ecological Fund Office to document some of the life saving efforts and activities at taming our environment and ecosystem as well as the appreciable level of success recorded by the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration which could have escaped public notice by a mere straight news of media reportage.
The book is chaptered one to six and is written in a simple language and clear expressions. The book is also generously adorned with a lot of pictorial illustrations and diagrams that show some of the testimonials of the ecological interventions across the country by the Federal Government through the Ecological Fund Office within the last few years.
While the first and preceding chapters of the book dwelled on identifying Nigeria’s serious ecological problems which include soil erosion, floods, oil pollution, water and air pollutions, waste mismanagement, drought, desertification and afforestation, and the consequent establishment of Ecological Fund Office under the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and supervised by the National Committee on Ecological Problems, NCEP, the main thrust of the book kicks off at the third chapter when it notes that the Fund had over the years been battling with series of irregularities, mismanagement and money being diverted to private use. And even “when the funds are used for intended ecological problems, it would eventually emerge that the contracts are ridiculously inflated, awarded to fictitious companies or poorly executed.” P21.
However, chapter four, Transformation Agenda Transforms Ecological Fund, discusses the timely intervention of President Jonathan through his historic Transformation Agenda, to reinvigorate the leadership of Ecological Fund Office and National Committee on Ecological Problems, NCEP to fight and restore order in the system that was once riddled with irregularities. This breath of ‘fresh air’ has been witnessed and been yielding positive results.
At present, according to the expositions of the book, a culture of corruption, red tapism, and official indifference has clearly given way for transparency, accountability and the Fund have become like never before more proactive in terms of ecological interventions.
Ecological Fund Office, borrowing from the book, has been nudged from the slumbering giant it used to be, into the fleet-footing, proactive and responsive outfit.
More so, the work process of the Office has not only been automated, but periodic capacity building of its staff through training and retraining is now a recurring decimal.
Chapter five, which is the second to the last chapter of the book, overviewed some of the ecological interventions undertaken by the Federal Government through the Ecological Fund Office. This chapter generously makes use of beautiful pictorial illustrations presenting how Ecological Fund Office has come to the rescue of a large number of communities under varying degrees of environmental threats across the nooks and crannies of the country.
These pictorial presentations clearly show how the men of the Ecological Fund Office dull out instructions to the contractors, ensuring that standards are being followed. This, according to the book has been the constant practice.
Finally, in the last chapter, chapter six, the book took time to appreciate the varying degrees of Nigeria’s complex and pervasive ecological problems that exist in different shapes and sizes across the country and the corresponding efforts of the Ecological Fund Office in taming these challenges.
The chapter however states that we are not there yet as a lot needs to be done to improve the environmental conditions of the rural dwellers because they are mostly the worst hit by these environmental hazards.
“City dwellers hardly appreciate ecological problems beyond the occasional floods they experience during rainy season when many houses built in flood plains and gutters filled with refuse dumps, causes flooding. They hardly appreciate that many villagers in the countryside are almost regularly cut off from the main communities when their link roads and make-shift bridges get washed away, their crops and farmlands submerged and even their residence lost to erosions.” P.212.
The book will not only be an interesting reading, it will also be a veritable document for researchers and other government agencies and policy makers, especially as there is dearth of literatures on ecology.
Ibrahim Ramalan, is a literary critique based in Abuja