Allegations Surface Regarding NAGGW’s Questionable Expenditure Of N81.2 Billion

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In a startling revelation, the House of Representatives has brought to light potential financial irregularities surrounding the allocation of a colossal N81.2 billion for a tree planting initiative that spanned across 11 Nigerian states. The initiative, spearheaded by the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), is now under intense scrutiny.

These 11 states, encompassing Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno, served as the battleground for the tree planting efforts.

During an investigative hearing aimed at evaluating the utilization of ecological funds disbursed to the National Great Green Wall since 2015, members of the House expressed deep concern over discrepancies in financial reports originating from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), and the NAGGW. This raised questions about expenditures during the period under review.

The examination of financial documents unveiled significant anomalies, including expenditures of N697.372 million and an additional N500 million for office renovations, N11.28 billion for capital projects, and the contentious categorization of some projects as constituency initiatives.

The committee overseeing the investigation also inquired about the agency’s accumulative wealth, stored away in its accounts for several years, without returning unutilized funds to the government; a move deemed inconsistent with existing financial regulations.

Furthermore, the committee questioned the agency’s outlays on unrelated activities such as capacity building, which appeared to deviate from the agency’s core mandate as defined in the Act. Also, concerns arose regarding the reported low survival rate of the trees planted, which the agency claimed stood at 80%.

The investigation also shed light on an incident in 2015, where N1 billion, originally earmarked for the agency, was illicitly transferred by some officials from the Federal Ministry of Environment. However, this substantial sum was eventually recovered; thanks to the intervention of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), in collaboration with specific financial institutions and Bureau de Change operators.

The CBN Director, Mr. Samuel Okudere, disclosed that out of the seven accounts linked to the agency, only one was officially sanctioned. In contrast, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mrs. Oluwatoyin Madein, confirmed that a total of N19.378 billion had been disbursed from the Derivation & Ecology Accounts to the agency since February 2019. Moreover, an additional N11.023 billion had been allocated for capital expenditure through the AGF.

The Director representing the AGF, Mrs. Irene Nwangwu, highlighted that President Muhammadu Buhari authorized the release of N2.309 billion to the agency as of September 2020, from the Statutory 5% Ecology Fund.

Dr. Yusuf Bukar, the Managing Director of NAGGW, emphasized the agency’s mission to implement the Nigerian segment of the Great Green Wall program. This program, endorsed by Mr. President in 2015, serves as an African Union initiative adopted by 11 African countries.

Its primary aim is to combat land degradation, desertification, drought, climate change, and enhance the livelihoods of communities affected by these challenges. Dr. Bukar acknowledged diverse funding sources, including ecological funds, natural resources development funds, as well as donations from national and international organizations.

This investigative hearing intends to compile comprehensive data to optimize program implementation, identify underlying issues, and tackle any potential corruption. The committee remains unwavering in its commitment to ensure public funds are used appropriately, acting in the best interests of the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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