Dr Habiba Lawal, Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund on Thursday, August 29, 2019, said the fund has been given approval by President Muhammadu Buhari for about 192 ecological projects across Nigeria.
She made the disclosure while presenting a paper at the Ground Breaking ceremony of the Ecological Intervention by the Federal Government to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Kaduna State.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme, organised by ABU has “2019 World Environment Day Air Pollution” as its theme.
Lawal said: “Since the coming of Mr President, between May 2015 and May 2019, a total of 192 projects have been approved and are ongoing.
“And these projects are running in every state of the federation, there is no state that has not benefited from at least two projects within this period (May 2015-May 2019).
“Out of these 192 projects, I am happy to say that 133 have been completed and handed over and 59 are at various stages of completion including the one we will be seeing later today.”
She added that one of the things her office did since assumption of duty was to ensure that Ecological Fund does not only focus attention on ameliorating ecological problems in towns and cities but also in institutions of higher learning.
“And that is one of the reasons why we are here having this discuss. Apart from ABU, I am happy to say that four other Federal Universities have also benefited from the Ecological Fund Intervention.
“These Universities include; University of Calabar, Cross Rivers State, Alex Ekwueme University in Ebonyi, University of Dutse in Jigawa State and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.
“We also funded or supported projects in some Federal Polytechnics, Kaduna Polytechnic is a beneficiary, Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State is one of those coming also.
“We have also done projects in Colleges of Education and even in Federal Government Colleges, we are running or supporting to improve the institution’s quality of learning and research,”
According to her, most importantly, for ABU the Ecological Fund had funded three distinct projects.
They include the rehabilitation of Kubanni Dam to improve water supply to the university, done under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Lawal added that during the administration of Buhari, ABU, got two new projects; the drainage basin at ABU lake and the current one is connecting the campuses of the university.
“We are connecting the main campus of the institution with ABU phase II and providing roads and other facilities to ensure the smooth movement between the two campuses of both man and materials.
“The two projects under the current administration are costing the Ecological Fund office about N1.5 billion,” she said.
On why the intervention in institutions, she said it was in recognition of the fact that they are government-owned establishments that require intevenion.
Lawal argued that the regular budget of each institution would not allow them to address such challenges, adding that the intervention would no doubt contribute significantly to learning and research.
Gov. Nasiru el-Rufa’i of Kaduna State said that the state government was taking adequate measures to preserve its forest reserves, while residents were being encouraged to plant more trees to combat desertification.
The governor, who was represented by Mr Steven Aboki, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, advised that anybody that fells one tree should endeavour to plant five.
While appreciating ABU for leading other Nigerian universities towards a green environment, el-Rufa’i observed that their efforts would never be in vain.
In his contribution, the ABU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Garba appreciated the Ecological Fund Office for the intervention, assuring that the projects would be used judiciously.
Garba said that the university plans to reduce the speed and use of vehicles with emission index higher than 0.6.
He added that it was also looking forward to receiving tons of mouth protecting gauze for use by staff and students allergic to pollen grain, harmattan haze and dust.
The vice chancellor said at the moment, the university had no record of death or injury among staff and students that could be a direct link to low ambient air quality. (NAN)