There's scarce funds for disaster management in Nigeria-Garba Shehu

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Nigeria is faced with a paucity of funds and technological limitations to handle large-scale and complex emergencies, but the government would do everything possible to give succour to victims of natural disasters the Presidency has said.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said this at the weekend on  ‘Hannu Ya Dawa,’ an audience participation programme on FRCN Kaduna.

‘In spite of Nigeria’s technological limitations and the paucity of funds to handle or manage large scale and complex emergencies, the APC administration will leave no stone unturned in offering succour to victims of natural disasters across the country,’’ Shehu stated.

He disclosed that the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation had been mandated to step up the provision of relief infrastructure to those in need.

He said Buhari’s administration would ensure timely release of the Ecological Fund to states in order to help them tackle pressing ecological challenges in their localities.

The presidential spokesman specifically assured that the administration would continue to assist flood victims across the country.

‘‘The Buhari administration will, under no circumstance abandon its humanitarian obligations to alleviate the distress of flood victims,” Shehu said.

He said it is the right of Nigerians to demand the judicious use of the Ecological Fund which, according to him. is distributed among the three tiers of government from the Federation Account.

‘‘The largest chunk of the Fund goes to the states and local governments. Every month, states and local governments receive 1.4 percent from the Federation account as Ecological Fund, compared to the Federal government’s share of 1 percent. From the 1 percent the FG gets, NEMA takes 20 percent for its operation,’’ he said.

Shehu noted that lately, disaster management in the country was gradually being ceded to the Federal Government by other tiers of government.

‘‘Whenever there is an emergency from natural or man-made disasters, all you hear is ‘where is Buhari, what is he doing? What happens with the other tiers of government?”, he asked.

Shehu, therefore, urged Nigerians at the state and local governments to demand transparency and accountability in the management of ecological funds by their governors and council chairmen.

“Without accountability by local political leaders, the Federal Government would continue to be the scapegoat for the failure of states and local governments to use ecological funds for the purposes they were released,’’ he said.

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