The environmental problems of the South deserve the same attention as those of the North – Afenifere

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has said the southern part of the country deserves attention and a share of the 250 billion naira to be borrowed from the World Bank by the federal government to address environmental degradation. in the 19 northern states and the federal government. Capital Territory.

The organization said in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Jare Ajayi, on Thursday, “When talking about environmental degradation, it is a known fact that many places, especially in the South East and South-South, have been rendered almost useless by relentless erosion.Such places also deserve similar attention.

“Reports quoted Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project Coordinator Salisu Dahiru as saying that the project for which said loan was requested was to address the problem and challenges of degradation of the environment in terms of deforestation, erosion, rainwater, management and meeting the needs of populations in terms of food production.

Afenifere’s spokesman maintained that all the points raised to justify the project also applied to the South.

He said: “Apart from desertification which is greater in the North and which leads to poor water storage, all the other problems mentioned also apply to the South.

“However, there is no doubt that the activities of bandits and terrorists are much more responsible for the insufficient food production in the north and even in the south-west of the country in recent times. This means that if terrorism is not put an end, the loan committed for such a project in the North risks falling through because it risks not achieving the reasons announced for obtaining it.

Beyond the issue of ownership or non-ownership of the said project, Ajayi insisted that the government stop its tendency to borrow whenever it thinks of executing a project.

“Where do funds generated from local and foreign sources go? What about the several billions recovered from corrupt public officials repeatedly announced by this administration? Apart from the regular payment of wages, where does this money go?

Afenifere’s spokesman said the questions were relevant given the government’s failure to honor even the agreements it has freely entered into, such as those with the University Academic Staff Union, the Labor Congress of Nigeria and the Trades Union Congress.

The group added: “We must remember that most of the big projects that are running, especially in the transport sector, are financed by loans. So, again, where do funds earned locally and from overseas transactions go?

“These questions are warranted due to the suspicion that corruption is very much on display under this administration which has mocked the fight against corruption as one of its cardinal goals for coming to power.”

Citing appointments made by the regime of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired), Afenifere called on the federal government to explain why Mr Mohammed Koko, a northerner, had been chosen to succeed Mrs Hadiza Usman and to Mr. Habib Abdullah, both are northerners, as the new Chief Executive of the Nigerian Ports Authority.

He also asked the National Assembly to stop approving new loan applications for the scheme.

Afenifere said that despite the country’s growing debt profile, the population had become impoverished, while infrastructure was inadequate and dilapidated.

Ajayi warned both branches of government against turning Nigeria into a perpetual debtor nation.

Afenifere cited several cases of loans obtained by the Buhari regime and expressed his dismay at the revelation made by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, and the Debt Management Office that up to 74% of the revenue of the country are devoted to servicing the debt.

He said that the DMO, an agency of the federal government which manages various government debts, revealed that as of September 2021, the country’s public debt was 38,005 tn and has been steadily increasing.

Afenifere said, “Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan promised earlier that the National Assembly would continue to approve loan requests made by President Buhari.

“But the amount of debt incurred by this administration is not reflected in the quantity and quality of infrastructure development in the country.

“It is also not reflected in the standard of living of Nigerians. In fact, it seems that the deeper Nigeria sinks into the debt dungeon, the lower the standard of living. It is obvious that the more money Nigeria earns with the money obtained in the form of loans and grants, the more the welfare of Nigerians suffers.

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