The Executive Council of the Federation has approved the sum of N1.73 for the purchase of a surveillance aircraft by the Nigeria Customs service (NCS).
The FEC gave the approval on Wednesday at its weekly meeting held at the council chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Aircraft, a Cessna Citation surveillance aircraft, is to help the NCS monitor the country’s borders.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who briefed state house correspondents after the meeting, said the aircraft will enhance the Customs border patrol capabilities, especially those areas that are easily used by smugglers to bypass officials at the border posts.
“Apart from plugging some loopholes in government’s anti-smuggling strategies, acquisition of the aircraft has become even more important as current security challenges in the country are also traceable to cross-border movements,” Mr. Maku said.
The FEC had in its sitting last Wednesday approved about N3bn for the purchase of two new KND P.249 Aluminum high speed boats by the NCS to help it combat the current security challenges on the nation’s waterways.
Mr. Maku said FEC also approved the immediate implementation of the African Union’s Green Wall Convention through the resuscitation of the National Council on Shelterbelt Afforestation, Erosion Control and Coastal Zones Management.
The Green Wall programme, Mr. Maku said, is aimed at reclaiming forests and flora in northern Nigeria and Africa that were lost to deforestation. It is also to avert or reduce “environmental wars” among communities arising from desert encroachment in those areas.
He added that the programme would cut across Senegal, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. He said in Nigeria, it would span 1700 kilometres from Kebbi down to Adamawa states.
The Minister of Environment, Hadiza Mailafiya, who also spoke at the briefing, said a synergy is expected from the affected states and local governments with the federal government. She explained that the project will involve massive tree planting that will cover 11 million hectares of land and help sustain agriculture production. According to Ms. Mailafiya, the project will also ensure self-sufficiency in feeding and curb flooding.
She said the project would be funded with the balance Conservation Fund which amounts to N500 million. She however did not rule out support from local and international donors as well as private and corporate bodies.