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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