Members of the house of representatives were left in shock after Director-General of the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW), Yusuf Maina Bukar told them that the agency spent N81bn to plant 21 million trees in the frontline states in the north.
The revelation was made by Bukar while appearing before a House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the utilization of Ecological Funds and other intervention funds of the Great Green Wall Project on Wednesday, August 30.
He said the states where these trees were planted are Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.
Bukar also told the committee that the agency spent N697.71m on renovation of office accommodation and N11.28bn on capital projects. He added 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.
The committee also quizzed the Central Bank of Nigeria 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 NAGWW 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 the N11.023bn as capital expenditure through the oAGF.
Nwangwu said former President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of N2.309bn to the agency as 2020 statutory 5% Ecological Fund.
The chairman of the committee, Isma’ila Haruna Dabo and members complained that the NAGGW spent monies without commensurate results and have deviated from their 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”.