By Sanusi Muhammad
Despite several calls and text messages through the MTN number (0803-8537022) of the managing director of the National Agency for Greater Green Wall (NAGGW), Yusufu Maina Bukar and other efforts made to reach him for his comments proved abortive, the managing director of the federal government established agency under the Federal Ministry for Environment is alleged to have squandered over N81.2billion taxpayers money on fictitious tree planting exercise in 11 states of the federation.
In a petition made available to this medium by a Lagos based anti-corruption group, it was alleged that there is a glaring case of diversion of public funds through a ‘fictitious’ tree planting exercise at the whooping sum of N81.2billion.
Going by reports from an in-depth investigation of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee that made the discovery of the scam, it is clear beyond any iota of doubt that the Agency had as alleged squandered the whooping amount on non-existing trees for a fictitious fight against drought, afforestation and reforestation activities in Nigeria’s dry lands and ecological funding for Greater Green Wall activities.
According to the petitioner, a visit to most of the states mentioned as beneficiaries of the tree planting intervention to locate sites of the project was a herculean task that can only be located in the imagination of NAGGW.
For instance, the petitioners alleged that those locations in Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Gombe and Adamawa states could not be found anywhere after several efforts including contacts with relevant ‘benefiting’ state government ministries.
The petitioners added that part of their allegations were sourced from the report of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee that investigated the utilization of allocated funds to the agency since it was established in 2015 by Act of Parliament.
A breakdown of expenditure from NAGGW suspected to have been diverted include;-
The whopping sums of N697.372million, N500million and N480.657million separately expended on claimed renovation of office accommodation (number of offices renovated not stated)
The sum of N11.28billion expended on imaginary capital projects (projects not stated)
Huge unspecified amount of public monies expended by the Agency on claimed capacity building and other sub-heads not within the mandate of the Agency as specified in the Establishment Act 2015 that need further investigation.
Since 2015, the Agency has woefully failed or ignored to undertake any Audit of its Accounts which gives room for suspicion of certain hidden scandals.
With these development and several others that must have been swept under the carpet, the anti-corruption group is calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to suspend the management of the agency under Yusufu Maina Bukar who was appointed in April 2022 to the exalted position and subject it to thorough investigation to expose other cases of corruption and malfeasance for subsequent action.
It was further understood that the managing director who allegedly mortgaged his conscience for sharp corrupt practices despite his claimed educational status, must have been bragging of operating under the executive cover of some influential federal government functionaries that are suspected to be the brains behind the ongoing scandals in the agency.
The petitioners further added that just within one year of his appointment, he had squandered such a humongous amount of public funds on fictitious projects that have no direct bearing on the lives of Nigerians
“At the House Ad-hoc committee session, the managing director shamelessly said the agency had planted trees in Borno, Yobe and other states with N2.4billion in the first phase and N7.3billion in the second phase but failed to name locations where the trees were planted for ease of verification
“May be those trees allocated to Borno State were planted in Sambisa or Firgitsi forests but definitely not within Maiduguri metropolis or any of the local governments that we visited to authenticate the truth”.
With this development, the National Agency for Greater Green Wall has joined the league of the most corrupt federal government establishments that should either be scrapped or the entire management held responsible for such a heinous scandal similar to those of Diezani Alli-son Madueke (former Petroleum Resources Minister), AbdulRasheed Maina (Pension Scheme), Godwin Emefiele (CBN) Ahmed Idris (former Accountant-General of the Federation), AbdulHameed Aliyu (NIRSAL) and several other crooks that presided and butchered public resources under the guise of service to Nigerians .
In subsequent bulletins, we shall publish more of our findings on how NAGGW is administered and how corrupt practices are encouraged and protected to flourish under Yusufu Maina Bukar and his co-travelers who agreed that the agency had long deviated from its core mandate.