The Federal Government has approved the establishment of the Interim Office of the National Agency for the Great Green Wall, GGW.
It also approved the appointment of an acting Director General, DG, to man the agency.
The Vice President, Namadi Sambo, disclosed this during the 5th meeting of the National Council on the Great Green Wall held at the State House, Abuja.
“The GGW programme, an international project, is still at an initial stage in Nigeria,”
he said. “This is a people-oriented project by which President Goodluck Jonathan hopes to impact positively on the welfare of the citizenry.”
Mr. Sambo called for a strategic national plan and approach which would adequately address the socio-economic situation of the people.
This, he said, should include local community participation to ensure the success of the programme as similarly recorded in other countries such as Senegal and Mauritania.
Cautioning on the disbursement of approved project funds to the selected benefiting communities, the vice president stressed the need for such to be administered directly to the communities.
He called for proper documentation with which to approach development partners and demanded to be furnished with the detailed time-lines on the completion of the project by the consultants which would give indicators of actual progress.
Mr. Sambo appreciated the participation of the private sector in the project. He advised on the record of accurate figures of staff engaged in the project work and the purpose for which they are employed.
“More youths should be employed to guard the forests so that our investments will be fully protected,” he said.
The vice president constituted a committee saddled with the responsibility of drawing up a detailed operational manual and action plan that would be used to drive the project to a viable conclusion.
The committee consists of the Permanent Secretaries of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, OSGF; Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, OAGF; Ecological Funds Office; and Ministries of Education, Environment and Finance.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment is to Chair the committee.
Earlier, the Minister of Environment, Lawrencia Laraba-Mallam, in her presentation to the council, stated that one of the key objectives of the GGW programme was the generation of employment and that a total of 52,002 people had already been engaged in various activities.
She said the ministry had also carried out sensitisation awareness campaigns and jingles in selected media and that preparation was presently in top gear towards for the president to flag the programme off.
Soliciting for additional funding to finance the 2015 work plan, the minister urged that the strategic plan drawn up for the project should be geared towards assisting the ministry in developing a suitable road map at this early stage.
On her part, the Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, advised the technical team to bring their expertise to bear in the preparation of documents on the project to enable prompt identification of challenges and subsequent attention to be given to such.
She also called for the capturing of youths, women and exact locations in future presentations.