By G9ija

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the mismanagement of the ecological fund which he described as a crime against humanity.

Falana, according to a statement from his chambers signed by Tayo Soyemi, stated this on Monday at a convocation lecture at Augustine University, Lagos.

Speaking at the event on Monday, Falana said it is wrong for the Federal Government to ask citizens to hold state governments to account in event of a national disaster. He expressed concern over the impact of recent flooding across communities.

“The mismanagement of ecological fund is a crime against humanity because it is responsible for the loss of many lives, displacement of millions of people, and destruction of properties worth trillions of Naira,” Falana said.

“Before the proposed probe by the EFCC, the federal government should come to the aid of the affected state governments. However, the EFCC should probe the involvement of officials of the federal government and state governments.

“In particular, the federal government has failed to release money from the ecological fund to the affected states. On their own part, the various state governments have equally failed to provide relief materials for the victims.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government did not ask the citizens to hold the state governments to account for funds meant for building and equipping hospitals.

“Instead of inciting citizens to demand an explanation which will be ignored by state governments, the federal government should submit a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for the investigation of the mismanagement of the ecological fund which is a crime against humanity.”

While faulting the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, for saying the floods are an “act of God”, Falana asked the government to ensure that measures to mitigate flooding become a priority.

He also expressed concern over ongoing campaign activities by political parties despite the effect of flooding on victims.

The Ecological Fund Office, under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was created in 1985 following the approval of the Federation Account Act of 1981.

It includes one percent of the Federation Account and it is known as the derivation and ecology fund, and the focus of the office is to have a pool of funds that would be solely devoted to the funding of ecological projects to mitigate serious ecological problems.

Last year, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N16.04 billion in ecological fund projects across 12 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) for soil erosion/flood and pollution control interventions.