Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Saturday canvassed for the transfer of the Ecological Fund Office to Federal Ministry of Environment, which has the expertise and national reach to manage the fund more efficiently.
The governor made the call when the Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, presented one million seedlings to him in Kaduna, for planting across the state, to mark the World Environment Day
El-Rufai said that it is only proper for the Ecological Fund to be domiciled with the Ministry, because the fund was meant to fight environmental issues like erosion, deforestation and desertification.
“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 said.
El-Rufai revealed that he headed a committee during the first term of the Buhari administration, which recommended the transfer of the Fund to the environment ministry.
According to him, the matter was further tabled before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and a decision was taken on it, but the resolution has not been implemented.
The governor regretted 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 per cent of the trees survive, but we have not given up.
“It is an investment that we are willing to make for our children and grandchildren,’’ he added.
El-Rufai promised the minister that the state will plant the seedlings and ensure that at least 90 per cent of it survive.
“We will match the number of what the minister donated to the state; 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.
Abubakar said that the ministry decided to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day with the state because of Gov. El Rufai’s commitment to environmental issues and support to the ministry.
The minister promised that the balance of four million trees will be delivered to the state.