Nigeria Environmental Issues

With the coming on board of the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, and her familiarisation tour of parastatals and agencies under the Ministry, expectations are high that the new Minister will take concrete steps to address the daunting challenges facing the Ministry and the Nigerian Environment.

Critical issues requiring urgent ministerial attention range from corruption in the system to lack of office accommodation, poorly motivated workforce and dilapidated office furniture whose life span have long expired and are now an eye-sore all over the Ministry.

The most fundamental challenges in the sector have to do with the huge debts of over N10 billion hanging on the neck of the Ministry, the oil spillage in the Niger Delta and particularly in Bonga, which has affected shoreline communities in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, and among others, the massive erosion threatening the entire South East and the lead poisoning in Zamfara State, yet to be comprehensively tackled.

Other problems have to do with drought and desertification threatening some parts of Northern Nigeria, poor implementation of the Great Green Wall project and challenges facing the National Parks.

Of equal importance is the issue of flooding in parts of the country occasioned by the consequences of climate change as well as issues of pollution control and waste management, environmental health. Gas flaring must be stopped at all cost, with no shift in date.

At the centre of all of these challenges is poor funding of the sector and low internally generated revenue.

It is worthy to note that the Minister has already acknowledged the fact that paucity of funds had hampered the performance of the Ministry. Recently, she lamented that the Ministry was only allocated N7 billion for the entire budgetary allocation for 2014.

It is imperative to state that without delay, the Minister should come up with the 2015 budget for the ministry in order to make adequate provision of funds for capital and key projects in the sector.

The Great Green Wall project should be a major focus and as one of the priority project, which the Minister is expected to convince the Federal government to adequately meet up with its counterpart funding. This is in addition to other key projects that are presently lying fallow.

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