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Senate discovers N16 billion hidden in Ministry of Environment’s 2022 budget

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Senate in session at the National Assembly, Abuja
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Nigeria Senate has discovered the sum of N16 billion debt incurred by some States in the country hidden in the Ministry of Environment’s 2022’s budget submitted to it.

The debt owed by those States which were however, not mentioned was to be illegally serviced by the Federal government.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu disclosed this, while interacting with Senate Press Corps after he defended the Committee’s report before the Senate Committee on Appropriation on Monday in Abuja.

Ekweremadu fumed at the Ministry of Environment’s illegality, stating that similar money of about N6 billion was included in 2021 budget, which the ministry of Environment was queried by the Committee before, only for it be brought back in the next year’s budget, this time to the tune of N16 billion.

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The former Deputy Senate President explained that the loan was approved by a world institution for states government in the country and not for the Federal, with a moratorium of ten years before the states government would begin the initiation of payment of the loan and wondered why the ministry keeps reflecting it in each year’s budget cycle.

He asked the Senate Committee on Appropriation headed by Senator Jibrin Barau to write to the Federal Ministry of Finance to find ways of retrieving the N16 billion.

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He said, there was a grand plot to defraud the Federal government by the Ministry.

He expressed confidence that the Senate Committee on Appropriation would get to the root of the matter and handle the case in the best interest of Nigerians, wondering why the Federal should continue to lose such huge amount of money, it know nothing about.

Reacting to questions on desertification, he said about six hundred and ninety two million trees are to be planted in eleven states of the North to check desertification in the region.

He clarified that the tree planting initiative would be funded by the Great Green Wall initiative.

He stressed that the initiative has no time frame attached to it, noting that the idea was aimed at addressing issues associated with desertification in the country.

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CAPITAL POST recalled that the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has presented the Ministry’s 2022 budget to the upper and lower legislative Chambers which has been defended amid concerns.

Earlier in the meeting, the Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation Senator Jibrin Barau expressed satisfaction with the report and commended the Committee on Environment for a job well done.

He promised to follow up on some issues that bordered on loans and debts incurred by some States which there are trying to push the liability on the Federal government.

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