Nigeria News

House Vows to Probe Climate Change Funds

The  House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change has vowed to  investigate the utilisation of funds donated by international agencies and development partners  to the Department of Climate Change in Nigeria.
The scrutiny of funds followed the revelations that the Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment,  operates from a make-shift accommodation devoid of  befitting  work spaces  and  public conveniences.
It was discovered that the department got to its present location after it was evicted from its former office due to inability to fulfill its rent obligations.
The Chairman, House Committee on Climate Change, Hon. Eziuche Ubani (PDP/Abia), who spoke to journalists,  during an oversight visit to the department,  said the probe became necessary  to avoid  a situation where the donor agencies  would visit the department and withdraw their assistance due to poor management of the funds donated to it.
Ubani said the shabby  situation of the office was a reflection of the nonchalant attitude of the government and those directly in charge of the office  towards climate change issues.
He  lamented that while other  nations  were taking  climate change matters  seriously, Nigeria does not seem to see it as a priority.
"Donors are supposed to be funding that department and I'm sure they receive money from donors and I'm sure they would be disappointed if they came to see where they work from. That is the very worrying part of it. We are going to make  utmost efforts to get  the Ministry of Environment  to respond to it. They need to be able to get standard accommodation for them, anything less than that would be unacceptable.
"All the talk about climate change is just a pretence because even if donors come to see where this people are working from, like a matchbox for about  forty  staff crammed in that place with no public facility, no toilets and nothing, they would be very disappointed," he said.
The Director, Climate Change  Department, Federal Ministry of Environment,  Dr. Samuel Adejuwon, had earlier  told  the lawmakers  that the department with its 45 staff were evicted from their former building after government failed  to offset their N12million rent  backlog.
They were  subsequently relocated  to a part of the library  of the Ministry of Environment.
The lawmakers  could not complete  the assessment of the budget performance as the  Permanent Secretary, Mr. Taiye Haruna,  could not furnish them with all the necessary  documents to back up his claim that they  had achieved 80 per cent budget  implementation. The committee has directed him  to bring all the documents  to the National Assembly on Monday (today) for thorough scrutiny.
"Not to come forward with standard documents that are public documents to show us and present to members and then to talk about budget performance as eighty percent procurement is something unacceptable.
“There are standard operating procedures that we know that happens between the National Assembly members, the committees  and then ministries and departments and this case, it is something they know very well and they failed because they were not prepared and that exactly tells you how bad things have gone in that place.
“If they fail to come on Monday then we will take the matter back to the House to let them know how bad things have become in that ministry and from there, we can take it forward,” Ubani said.

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