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The Nigeria Ecological Fund Office Essay

Abstract

Nigeria has a total land area of 983,213 km2 occupied by about 140 Million people: The interaction of these millions of people with their environment has left indelible mark on the landscape. Deforestation, desertification, flooding, erosion and all kinds of pollution as well as climate change are some of the resultant effects of man’s interaction with his environment. These changes occur as the people attempt to acquire their seemingly endless desire for food, shelter, recreation and infrastructural facilities. Though these wants and desires contribute to the development of the country, the unwise use of the land and its resources produce negative impacts on the environment. The Ecological Fund Office (EFO) was established to control the Nigerian Ecological problems, ensuring the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of Government policies and programmes as it affects Ecological Fund and projects, in all spheres of our national life.

But field observation revealed that environmental degradation is growing at a rate worse than the pre EFO period. Solution to these problems require going beyond the strategies and objectives of EFO. Environmental protection techniques should be indigenized. It should be written and delivered in Nigerian languages. The design should take cognizance of the deferent ecological zone in the country and the people should be the agents. For an enduring legacy, Environmental Educational (which should include environmental protection techniques) should be included in primary and post primary school curricula.

1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study The Federal Government of Nigeria established the Ecological Fund through the Federal Account Act, 1981 as a pool of funds that would be solely devoted to funding of ecological problems. Decrees 36 of 1984 and 106 of 1992 as well as the Allocation of Federation Account Modification order of 2002, subsequently modified the act. The Fund, which was originally constituted one percent (1%) of the federation account, was reviewed to two percent (2%) in 1992, and later one percent (1%) of the derivation allocation was added, thus bringing the total percentage to three percent (3%). Of this amount 48.5% goes to the federal government, while 24% and 20% are set for states and local governments respectively.

Usually these funds are disbursed for various ecological intervention projects such as flood and erosion control, pollution remediation and waste management among others. 1.2 Objective of the Study The overall aim of the study is to reach a better understanding of the Ecological Fund office The Specific objectives are: 1. To document the array of activities of the Ecological Fund Office and to assess the sustainability of these activities. 2. To understudy the various ecological problems and document how their impacts affect Nigeria. 3. To assess the impact of ecological problems 1.3 Brief History of the Ecological Fund Office The Ecological Fund Office was originally established in 1981 through the Federation Account Act (1981) based on the recommendation of the Okigbo Commission in order to the Ecological Fund Office in solving the various

have a pool of Fund that would be solely devoted to funding of ecological problems. The Act has subsequently been modified by Decrees 36 of 1984 and 106 of 1992 respectively; and further modified through the Allocation of Revenue/Federation Account etc (modification) order of 8th July 2002. The Ecological Fund was solely established with the principal objective of ensuring that adequate provision was made to address the serious ecological problems facing the nation be it flood, coastal soil erosion, desertification and drought as well as general pollution.

It was realized that appreciable progress on daunting ecological problems can only be made if there is a pool of fund. National Committee on Ecological Problems In 1985, the Federal Government established an Inter-Ministerial Committee known as the National Committee on Ecological Problems (NCEP) with the responsibility for advising the President on the disbursement and management of the Ecological Fund. In 1999, the Obasanjo administration re-organised and expanded the NCEP and conferred chairmanship of the new body on the Minister for Special Duties. Below are the members of the expanded committee

1. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Agriculture 2. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Environment 3. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Finance 4. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Industry 5. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources 6. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Science and Technology 7. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Solid Mineral Development 8. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Water Resources

9. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Works and Housing 10. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of National Planning Office 11. Permanent Secretary Ecological Fund Office (to serve as Secretary of the Committee) 12. A Representative of the Office of the Vice President 13. Director-General National Emergency Management Agency Another exercise in re-organization in December 2006 brought slight modifications to the membership of NCEP due to re-alignment of federal ministries; as a result of which the Hon. Minister of Environment was made and has since remained the Chairman of the Committee. The National Committee on Ecological Problems (NCEP) has four (4) technical subcommittees which cover all facets of its assignments. These are: 1. Sub-committee on Erosion 2. Sub-committee on Desertification 3. Sub-committee on General Environmental Pollution 4. Sub-committee on Oil Spillage and Pollution These Committees are composed of professionals from relevant member

Ministries/Agencies of the NCEP. They examine in detail identified ecological problems, proposed remedial measures, requests and reports and make onward recommendations for the consideration of NCEP

1.4 Ecological Fund Office Organisational Structure

1.5 Vision Statement Ensuring the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of Government policies and programmes as it affects Ecological Fund and projects, in all spheres of our national life for the development of the country and the benefit of our citizenry. Mission Statement To serve as the strategic vehicle for effective communication, co-ordination and monitoring, as it affects Ecological Fund and projects, in compliance with government policies and programmes as they affect public and private sectors of the economy in the best tradition of political and public service loyalty. 2. LITERATURE REVIEW Nigeria undoubtedly is plagued with many Ecological problems of varying magnitude. Whilst the people living in the Southern part of the country are being ravaged by Flood and Gully Erosion, their Counter Parts in the North are contending with the menace of Desertification, Deforestation and Drought, among others.

The latest report from the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, says that “Land Degradation remains the greatest problem in Nigeria. In addition, the country still witness high levels of water and air pollution, while efforts to reduce the rate of natural resources depletion and desertification are yet to yield significant efforts”.

(http://www.unc.org/sfm/24447/en) In bid to tackle these problems, the Federal Government of Nigeria established the Ecological Fund through the Federation Account Act of 1981. The prime objective of this initiative was to have a pool of funds that would be solely devoted to the funding of ecological projects (Nigeria Federation Acts Book, 1999) Decree 36 of 1984 and 106 0f 1992, as well as the Allocation of Federation Account Modification Order of 2002, subsequently modified the Act. The Fund, which originally constituted one percent (1%) of the federation account, was upwardly reviewed to two percent (2%) in 1992. But later, one percent (1%) of the derivation allocation was added thus bringing the total percentage to three percent (3%). Of this amount, 48.5% goes to the Federal Government while 24% and 20% are reserved for states and local government respectively. 2.1 Management Structure of the Ecological Fund Office The Ecological Fund Office is headed by a Permanent Secretary who reports to the National Committee on Ecological problems and serves as Secretary to the committee and also assisted by Directors as Heads of Department.

The activities of the Ecological Fund Office includes:· · collating all requests on ecological problems from the Federal and State Agencies; carrying our preliminary assessment of reports or identified cases of ecological problems and bringing then to the attention of the National Committee on Ecological Problems (NCEP); · · · monitoring the implementation of approved ecological projects nationwide; processing of interim certificates for payment as and when due; and responsible for general policy directives on the utilization of the fund and making recommendations on projects to be funded through the Honourable Minister of Environment who doubles as the Chairman, National Committee on Ecological Problems (NCEP) to Mr. President.

2.2 Core Mandates The act creating the Ecological Fund Office stated the following as its core mandates a. To reduce Ecological problems nationwide to the barest minimum b. To facilitate quality and effective implementation of projects c. Judicious and equitable utilization of Funds d. To effectively manage the Ecological Fund e. To serve as secretariat for the National Committee on Ecological Problems (NCEP) and its Technical Committee 2.3 Ecological Problems Being Solved By the Ecological Fund Office Nigeria is most ravaged by the following Ecological Problems

1. Deforestation and Desertification

2. Flooding 3. Erosion 4. Pollution 5. Climate Change 2.3.1 Deforestation and Desertification Deforestation is a process where vegetation is cut down without any simultaneous replanting for economic or social reasons. Deforestation has negative implications on the environment in terms of soil erosion, loss of biodiversity ecosystems, loss of wildlife and increased desertification among many other reasons. (Omofonmwan, S. I., and G. I. OsaEdoh 2008) Deforestation also has impacts on social aspects of the country, specifically regarding economic issues, agriculture, conflict and most importantly, quality of life. According to data taken over 2000 to 2005 Nigeria, located in the western region of Africa, has the largest deforestation rates in the world, having lost 55.7% of their primary forests. (http://rainforests.mongabay.com/20nigeria.htm). Mongabay defines primary forests as forests with no visible signs of past or present human activities.

The annual rate of deforestation in Nigeria is 3.5%, approximately 350,000-400,000 hectares per year. A lot of damage has been done to Nigeria’s land through the processes of deforestation, notably contributing to the overwhelming trend of desertification. Desertification is the encroachment of the desert on land what was once fertile. (Odjugo, Peter A. 2010). A study conducted from 1975 to 2005 gathered that there was a temperature increase in Nigeria of 1.1°C, while the global mean temperature increase was only 0.74°C.

The same study also found in the same period of time that the amount of rainfall in the country decreased by 81mm. It was noticed that both of these trends simultaneously had sharp changes in the 1990s. (Odjugo, Peter A. 2010). From 1990 to 2010 Nigeria nearly halved their amount of Forest Cover, moving from 17,234 to 9041 hectares. The combination of extremely high deforestation rates, increased temperatures and decreasing rainfall are all contributing to the desertification of the country. The carbon emissions from deforestation is also said to account for 87% of the total carbon emissions of the country. (Akinbami, J. 2003).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations lists the requirements of sustainable forest management as: extent of forest resources, biological diversity, forest health and vitality, productive functions of forest resources, protective functions of forest resources, socio-economic functions and a legal, policy and institutional framework. (http://www.fao.org/forestry/sfm/24447/en/) These and many more are what the Ecological Fund office are doing, however many aspects of these outlines are currently not being met. 2.3.2 Flooding A Flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The European Union (EU) Floods Directive defines a flood as a covering by water of land not normally covered by water. (Sada P.O. and Odemerho, F. O 1988) In the sense of “flowing water”, the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide.

Flooding may result from the volume of water within a body of water, such as a river or lake, which overflows or breaks levees, with the result that some of the water escapes its usual boundaries. (Glossary of Meteorology June 2000) Flooding is common in many parts of Nigeria. Heavy rainfall and poor watershed management are two major causes. Moreover, human activities such as land clearance for agricultural purposes, poor dam construction, and deforestation may also contribute to the problem. The most flood-prone areas in Nigeria include: · · ·

Low-lying coastal areas in the south where annual rainfall is quite heavy such as Calabar, Warri, Port-Harcourt and Lagos, Flood plains of major rivers such as the Niger, Benue, Gongola, Sokoto, Hadejia, Kastina Ala, Donga, Kaduna, Gurara, Ogun and Anambra, and Flat, low-lying areas around the south of Lake Chad, which may be flooded during and even a few weeks after the rains 2.3.3 Erosion Erosion is one of the most critical environmental problems affecting parts of the country. The National Erosion and Flood Control Policy in 2005 estimated that 10 percent of the country’s land mass has severe erosion problems and that more than 50 percent of the affected areas were in Nigeria’s southeast (Environmental Resources Management 2009).

With increasing human activities and a number of natural forces, coastal and marine erosion and land subsidence have been recorded in the coastal areas of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states. This erosion and subsidence has resulted in oceanic surging (Vision 2010 Committee, 1997). Erosion of various types, including sheet, rill, and gully, affects nearly all parts of Nigeria. Gully erosion is most visible in Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ekiti, Gombe and Kogi states. By 1997, the government estimated that there were more than 2000 active gully erosion sites spread across the country. Sheet erosion is not prominently visible whenever it occurs, but it removes the surface’s solid layers. It is caused by rainfall runoff down slopes and results in soil degradation and impoverishment, pollution and so on.

Sheet erosion occurs in Anambra, Imo, Plateau and Sokoto states as well as Kwara state. Generally, erosion leads to the loss of farmlands, forest resources, and agricultural outputs. Also, land is lost that could be used for other purposes. 2.3.4 Pollution Environmental pollution can be categorized into three groups. These are air or atmospheric pollution, aquatic or water pollution and land or surface area pollution. The World Health Organization (WHO) (1990) defined air pollution as “limited to situation in which the outer ambient atmosphere contains materials in concentrations which are harmful to man and his environment”. Man’s activities on the earth surface have largely degraded the quality of the lower atmosphere.

The growth and development of industries and Urbanization has contributed greatly to the excess carbon monoxide produced by combustion and other human activities. Carbon monoxide reacts with the blood vessel and prevents it from taking up oxygen and the people are suffocated. In Nigeria, several rural towns that had in the past enjoyed fresh and dry air are currently experiencing air pollution problems (Obajimi, 1998). This is due to industrialization process and expansion in human activities. Aquatic or water pollution is the discharge of unwanted biological, chemical and physical materials into water bodies from man’s environment. The pollutants are usually chemical, physical and biological substances that affect the natural condition of water.

This incidence is responsible for the wide spread water

contamination in most Nigeria cities. Also solid wastes have equally flooded the water ways in these urban centers. Land surface pollution is the occurrence of unwanted materials or waste on land. The commonest pollutant on land is the waste products that are often scattered on land area in the cities. According to Onwioduokit (1998), most environmental problems are due to the production or consumption of goods whose waste products translate easily into pollutant. (Ayeni 1978) Generally, it would appear that the growth of urbanization and industrial development coupled with improper wastes management control have added a great dimension to land area pollution in Nigeria.

2.3.5 Climate Change Climate change is a serious environmental threat. Agriculture is sensitive to changes in climate. Sustainable agricultural practice as well as sustainable forest management can help address climate change (Titiola 2000). Notable evidence of climate change in Nigeria includes · · · · The drying up of most lakes and natural ponds in Nigeria, such as Lake Chad, in a period of less than 30 years, The disappearance of some species of flora and fauna, Sahara desert encroachment speed at the rate of 0.6 kilometers per year.

Flooding of coastal areas like the Bar Beach in Lagos.

A United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) report (2009) on the impact of climate change on Nigeria’s economy indicates that the country is likely to be one of the most negatively affected countries in the world as a result of climate change. The reasons given are · · Its low lying coastline, which is highly populated with a heavy concentration of important industry and infrastructure, and The vegetation of the northern part of the country is Sahel, vulnerable to drought and desertification (Environmental Resources Management 2009). Nigeria is not a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions when compared with the developed, industrialized countries. But the country does supply oil and gas to countries

with high greenhouse gas emissions. This exploitation of gas and oil for export from the Niger Delta contributes to global warming, damages the environment, and hurts communities nearby. The oil fields contain crude oil mixed with very large amounts of gas and the oil is separated from the gas by burning off the gas. Such gas flaring is debilitating to the sensitive ecosystem of the Niger Delta with effects like acid rain, burst oil pipelines, unwholesome noise, high temperatures, retarded crop yield, corroded roofs and so on. The gas flared in Nigeria contains high amounts of methane and carbon dioxide (major greenhouse gases).

This flaring produces More emissions than the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa combined. 3. METHODOLOGY The data used in this study were derived through a qualitative research strategy. The primary data were sourced from structured and open-ended interviews conducted between March 2012 and May 2012. Respondent were selected following a purposive sampling frame of senior officials of Ecological Fund Office. A total of 5 senior officers identified to be directly involved in the EFO programmes were interviewed. The choice of structured and open-ended interviews was to guide the interviews, elicit appropriate responses as well as allow for the addition of new and related questions when appropriate.

Among the issues covered in the interview sessions were the various Ecological Projects undertaken, ongoing and their locations, structure and mission statement of the EFO. Other issues included its partners and their specific roles in the ecological programmes. The secondary data were sourced from newspaper and journal articles, published reports on ecological/environmental problems, ecological/environmental brochures as well as online databases of government agencies. A combination of content analysis of the transcripts of the interviews and statistics was used in the data analysis 4. DISCUSSION Summary of some Ecological Fund Office Project (ongoing, recent) Region State Project Name Focal Area Project Type Cost (N Billion)


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