While Nigerians wallow in poverty and made to believe that there is no money in the country, the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW) has come up with claims that it spent ₦81 billion to plant 21 million trees in eleven states in the Northern region of the country.
An average Nigerian will assume that these trees must be able to yield more income to the nation or save its people from ordinary malarial.
But how true are these things about these trees, the agency will tell us.
Now, the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee has commenced an investigation on the utilisation of Ecological Funds and other intervention funds of the Great Green Wall Project.
The said states include Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.
In his defence of the agency’s activities earlier, NAGGW Director-General, Yusuf Maina Bukar, reportedly informed the lawmakers that the agency also spent ₦697.71 million on renovation of office accommodation and ₦11.28bn on capital projects.
He claimed that the main funding of the agency was from 15% of the Ecological Funds and the federal allocation as well as other sources for its operations.
However, the Reps committee is also scrutinizing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over seven accounts domiciled in the apex bank.
A six-page document dated August 22, 2023 submitted by the CBN showed that ₦9.5billion was domiciled in the agency’s account from 2015 to date.
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, represented by Deputy Director, Irene Nwangwu, said the NAGGW had received a total of ₦19.4 billion from the Derivation & Ecology Accounts from February 2019 to date.
In addition, the agency also received ₦11.023 billion as capital expenditure through the AGF.
Nwangwu said the former President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of ₦2.309bn to the agency as a 2020 statutory 5% Ecological Fund.
Spending Without Results
The chairman of the committee, Isma’ila Haruna Dabo and members complained that the NAGGW spent money without commensurate results.
The committee also said the agency deviated from its core mandate.
“Projects such as the Great Green Wall under investigation here were designed primarily to address some of these issues.
“The persistence of these challenges despite funds put into the programme from both the federal government and international partners has necessitated this investigation.
“In recent years, we have witnessed a significant upsurge in natural environmental challenges such as land degradation, deforestation, desertification and drought, which most times are explained away with the context of climate change,” it said.