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House of Reps Investigates N81.2 Billion Spent by National Great Green Wall Agency on Tree Planting

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ABUJA, Nigeria — The House of Representatives has opened an investigation into the National Agency for Great Green Wall, NAGGW, over its alleged spending of N81.2 billion on planting 21 million trees across 11 frontline states.

These states include Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno.

The investigative hearing on the “Utilisation of ecological funds released to NAGGW from 2015 till date” was led by Isma’ila Dabo.

Lawmakers on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, expressed displeasure at the conflicting financial reports submitted by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, oAGF, and the agency itself.

During the hearing, it was revealed that N697.372 million, N500 million, and N480.657 million were spent on renovating office accommodation.

An additional N11.28 billion was expended on capital projects and constituency projects.

The committee questioned the rationale behind these expenditures, particularly considering the agency’s ecological mandate.

Lawmakers also criticized the agency for not conducting any audits since its inception and for warehousing billions of naira in its accounts for several years without returning such funds to the government, violating existing financial regulations.

The agency is also under scrutiny for a past financial scandal.

In 2015, N1 billion belonging to NAGGW was fraudulently laundered by Federal Ministry of Environment officials but was later recovered by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences, ICPC, Commission.

The lawmakers expressed concern over the massive amount spent on capacity building and other subheads that don’t align with the agency’s mandate, calling these expenditures “alien” to the objectives of NAGGW.

This investigation comes as part of a broader push for transparency and accountability in using public funds.

Critics of the agency argue that such spending practices erode public trust and undermine the efficiency of initiatives to tackle environmental challenges.

As the House of Representatives continues its probe, questions remain on the actual impact of the agency’s activities relative to the enormous financial resources at its disposal.

The inquiry is expected to shed more light on the financial governance of NAGGW and could potentially lead to reforms or legal actions against individuals found culpable of mismanagement or corruption.

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