By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has suggested that ecological funds should be transferred to the Ministry of Environment because it has the expertise and national reach to manage it for the benefit of the country.
The Governor expressed this when the Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar presented one million seedlings to Kaduna State, to mark the World Environment Day, at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House.
Justifying his suggestion, Governor el-Rufai said that it is only proper for the ecological fund to be domiciled with the Ministry of Environment because its includes fighting erosion, deforestation and desert encroachment.
‘’Apart from that, the ministry has the knowledge, technicality and expertise as well as the national reach to better manage the fund and utilise it for the benefit of the entire country,’’ he argued.
el-Rufai revealed that he headed a committee during the first term of the present administration, which recommended the transfer of the fund to the Ministry of Environment.
According to him, the matter was further tabled before the National Executive Council (NEC) and a decision was taken on it but the resolution has not yet been implemented.
The governor lamented that Kaduna State has lost a lot of its forest in the last few years before the coming of his administration, adding that the state is being re-forested again.
‘’In the last five years, we have been planting 1.5 million trees every year. Only about 50% of the trees survive, but we have not given up. It is an investment that we are willing to make for our children and grand children,’’ he added.
el-Rufai promised the minister that Kaduna State will plant the seedlings that he has donated and ‘’90% of them will survive and we will match the number of what you have donated to us.’
‘’In Kaduna State, when we promise to do something, we always deliver on our promise. We will invite you next year so that you will see what we have done; you will then know that your donation was not in vain,’’ he added.
Earlier, the minister said that his ministry had promised five million seedlings to Kaduna State in fulfilment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to plant 25 million trees across the country.
Dr. Abubakar said that the ministry decided to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day because of Governor el-Rufai’s commitment to environment issues and support to the Ministry of Environment.
The Minister promised that the balance of four million trees will be delivered to Kaduna State, adding that the theme of this year’s World Environment Day is ‘’Bio-diversity, time for nature.’’