The House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee, tasked with investigating the utilization of Ecological Funds and other intervention funds for the Great Green Wall Project, raised questions on Wednesday regarding the National Agency for Great Green Wall’s (NAGGW) claim that it expended N81 billion to plant 21 million trees in the northern frontline states,Daily Trust reports.
These states include Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno.
Yusuf Maina Bukar, the Director-General of NAGWW, informed the committee that the agency also allocated N697.71 million for office accommodation renovations and N11.28 billion for capital projects.
He explained that the primary funding sources for the agency were 15% of the Ecological Funds, federal allocations, and other revenue streams to sustain its operations.
The committee also scrutinized seven accounts held with the Central Bank of Nigeria. According to a six-page document submitted by the CBN, dated August 22, 2023, N9,465,960,382.57 was held in the agency’s account from 2015 until the present.
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, represented by Deputy Director Irene Nwangwu, reported that the NAGWW received a total of N19,377,726,506.95 from the Derivation & Ecology Accounts from February 2019 until the present.
Furthermore, the agency obtained an additional N11.023 billion as capital expenditure through the oAGF.
Nwangwu disclosed that former President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of N2.309 billion to the agency as a 2020 statutory 5% Ecological Fund.
Chairman of the committee, Isma’ila Haruna Dabo, and other members expressed concerns that the NAGGW had expended funds without achieving commensurate results and had deviated from its core mandate.
Dabo stated, “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 allocated to the program from both the federal government and international partners has necessitated this investigation. In recent years, we have witnessed a significant increase in natural environmental challenges such as land degradation, deforestation, desertification, and drought, often attributed to climate change.”