About 27 states have shunned the invitation of the panel set up by the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) to probe the ecological funds released to them in the last 33 months amounting to N177.8 billion.
The states are: Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Zamfara, Benue, Borno and Cross-River.
Others include: Abia, Adamawa , Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe and Imo.
The panel, named “Case Conference on Ecological Funding,” is chaired by the federal commissioner representing Ekiti, Olukayode Bamisile.
The members are the federal commissioner representing Oyo State, Folawiyo Bello, and his Kaduna counterpart, Abdullahi Garba Abbas.
A meeting was earlier held with the representatives of the governors from July 31 to August 16 but most of the states have ignored the probe panel.
The investigation covered January 2020 to September 2022 (33 months) and the sum of N177.8 billion was shared to the states and local governments.
States received N96.8 billion while local governments also got N81 billion. On the average, a state gets N65 million monthly while some get up to N120 million.
The local governments of each state equally got an average of N54 million monthly while some got up to N98 million monthly.
“These sums could go a long way in alleviating the effects of ecological disaster in states and local governments, so that the citizens are able to receive the benefits of democracy,” the chairman of the probe panel, Olukayode Bamisile said.
He told journalists that: “The investigation is not a witch-hunting exercise but a fact finding mission on the utilization of the ecological funds by state governments following the plethora of complaints received by the commission from members of the public facing numerous ecological challenges like deforestation, desertification, erosion, flooding, etc.”
The PCC committee in its report sighted by our correspondent expressed concerns that stakeholders in the Ecological Funds value chain were not operating on the same page.
“The figures quoted by the state representatives were lower than the figures obtained from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation by the Committee,” the report stated.
Amnesty International has said flooding killed more than 612 people and injured 2,776 others in Nigeria in October 2022.
The floods also displaced more than 1.4 million people across the country and damaged more than 300,000 houses and 569,000 hectares of farmland, including arable land in Adamawa, Jigawa, Taraba, Kano, Bauchi, Niger, Anambra, and Ebonyi states.
In Anambra, the floods severely affected the Onitsha industrial hub, which forced a halt in production.
In February and March, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency also said that “at least 178 local government areas in 32 states of the federation and the federal capital territory have been predicted to experience severe flooding in 2023.”