Reps Begin Probe Of Agency Over Claims It Spent N81 Billion To Plant Trees In North

Reps Begins Probe Of Agency Over Claims It Spent N81 Billion To Plant Trees In North

The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee has commenced an investigation on the utilization of Ecological Funds and other intervention funds of the Great Green Wall Project.

The National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW) had told the Reps committee that it spent N81 billion to plant 21 million trees in eleven states in the Northern region of the country.

The said states include Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, Bahdstreetvibes learnt.

In his defence of the agency’s activities earlier, NAGGW Director-General, Yusuf Maina Bukar, reportedly informed the lawmakers that the agency also spent N697.71 million on renovation of office accommodation and N11.28bn on capital projects.

He claimed that the main funding of the agency was from 15 per cent 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 22nd August 2023 submitted by the CBN showed that N9,465,960,382.57 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 N19,377,726,506.95 from the Derivation & Ecology Accounts from February 2019 to date.

In addition, the agency also received N11.023bn as capital expenditure through the AGF.

Nwangwu said former President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of N2.309bn to the agency as a 2020 statutory 5% Ecological Fund.

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,” Dabo said.

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