Experts decry poor funding of environmental projects

Environmental pollution in Makoko, Lagos PHOTO:

Concerned about poor budgetary allocations, experts have urged the three tiers of government to improve their financial commitments to Ministries, Parastatals and Agencies (MDAs) on environmental issues.

This, they believed would go a long way in promoting environmental advocacy on matters that negatively impact the lives of the people, address issues of pollutions, deforestation, desertification, climate change, flooding and other environmental hazards.

The environmentalists also charged governments to include environmental study in school curriculum from primary level to the higher schools and provide avenues to finding solutions to communities facing environmental challenges.

These were the submissions by experts at the First National Environmental Colloquium – ” Facilitating National Environmental Discourse for Agenda Setting for 2018” organized by Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev) in Lagos.

Setting the tone for the discussion, the director, Centre for Environmental Human Resources Development (CENHURD), University of Lagos, Prof. Babajide Alo, said Nigeria is not unaware of the various international environmental treaties, which it signed, to improve the sector.

According to him, the governments have failed over the years in terms of allocating funds for implementation.He declared that the experience has been a dis-connection between government’s policy and the observable realities of the moment.“Nigeria is a country where you have a lot of laws for virtually all aspect of our life but successive governments have failed to put the law into action.

“Our ministries, agencies and parastatals are poorly funded and so they cannot executive projects non increase the tempo of environmental advocacy.In fact, there was a case of a minister for environment in Nigeria that used her personal money to executive environmental project on behalf of the government due to her passion for the environment.”

Prof. Alo who was the former deputy vice-chancellor, (Academic and Research) of the University, observed that there is a connection between crime rates and environmental issues explaining that findings showed that when the Lake Chad dried up, a lot of the people who depended on it for their daily survival became jobless and therefore became a tool in the hands of insurgents who recruited them for negative reason.

Contributing, the Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey lamented the increasing poor waste management across the country and called on the people to vote politicians that have plans for clear cut environmental policy.

He described the bill designed to regulate activities of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the country by the National Assembly as a misplaced priority stressing that it is also an attempt to gag the people especially activists, from criticizing the government, adding that the draft bill should be dropped.

“Nigeria has the resource but lacked the will to support the environment. We need to ask; why should the MDAs lacked necessary equipment? Government must fund environmental protection in Nigeria. Spending more on the environment is not a waste, but a good way to improve the health of the people. Development partners should only supplement our efforts or else, they would develop funding fatigue if they are depended on, to cater for the total funding”, he said

For Mrs. Ugochi Oluigbo, an environmental journalist, she blamed the high rate of poverty and structural defects in the country as a factor for majority of environmental challenges especially when citizens couldn’t afford to feed themselves coupled with the lack of access to basic infrastructure; hence they become careless towards their surroundings.

According to her, there was the need for the society particularly the media, to write more of the opportunities as well as the existing woes on how human impacts the environment and vice-versa while environmental study also, should be integrated core subjects in schools.

The Director of SRADev, Mr. Leslie Adogame whose 50th birthday also commemorate the day, said the programme is initiated bring together experts to marshal out solutions environmental issues and assist government in making better decision a better environment for Nigerians.

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Babajide Alo
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