The House of Representatives’ Committee on Environment has commended President Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) for his unflinching commitment to the Great Green Wall programme, affirming that the full implementation of the project has enormous potentials for; increasing the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP), poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation as well as increasing the Nations forest cover in line with United Nations requirement of 25% forest cover for member nations.
Making the commendation at an interactive session between the House Committee on Environment and high level officials of the Ministry, Committee Chairman Hon. Uche Ekwunife also called for synergy between stakeholders for the full and successful implementation of the programme in order to ensure that the set objectives of the programme are fully realized for the benefit of the country and the West African sub-region.
Emphasizing the imperative for synergy and cooperation within the Ministry for the success of the programme, Hon. Ekwunife also assured the people of Nigeria that the National Assembly will diligently exercise its oversight responsibility to ensure the success of the programme.
She called on the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam to ensure that the imputs from the International Community, the African Union and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as well as other relevant stakeholders are properly harnessed for the faithful implementation of the programme in line with Global Environment Facility (GEF) standards, in order to achieve maximum and desired results.
Mrs. Ekwunife strongly advised that the implementation of the Great Green Wall programme should be anchored on the blue print of the project and a carefully designed work plan in order to avoid the pitfalls of past efforts at implementation, adding that her committee will work closely with the Ministry to ensure the success of this laudable programme.
Commenting on the Institutional framework of the Great Green Wall programme, the committee Chairman called on the Minister of Environment to expedite action to ensure that the Executive Bill for an Act to create an Agency for the Great Green Wall is brought before the National Assembly, promising that her committee will do everything within the armbit of the law to ensure the expeditious passage of the bill so as to provide the desired enabling environment for the programme to thrive.
Earlier in her briefing to Members of the House Committee on Environment, the Hon. Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam told the committee that the proposal for a bill for an act to establish the Great Green Wall Agency has already been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), and that the Ministry is putting finishing touches to it before it will forward to the National Assembly for enactment.
The Minister assured the committee that the implementation of the programme is effectively on course, appealing to members to visit the eleven (11) frontline states to see for themselves what has been accomplished on the field of implementation, promising that they will not be disappointed.
Commenting on other aspects of the interactive session, the Minister revealed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a whooping sum of N9.2 Billion for the production and distribution of 750,000 Green-Cook Stoves nation-wide.
Explaining further, Mrs. Laurentia Laraba Mallam stated that;
“The contract has already been signed, and that the sum of N1.2 billion has been paid out to the Contractor to commence the production of the Green – Cook Stove in Nigeria”.
While revealing that the production of the “Wonder Stove” in the country will help create jobs for the country’s population, Mrs. Mallam also said the modalities for the distribution of the wonder stoves nation-wide are deligently being worked out in the ministry in such a manner that will satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of all segments of the country.
In their contributions during the interactive session, members of the House Committee on Environment were unanimous that the Ministry must take the core responsibility of coordinating the implementation of the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), maintaining that Environment remains the line ministry in the implementation of the project. According to Representatives, positive revelations have emerged that stakeholders have made tremendous counterpart contributions towards the success of the project.
It was revealed that the World Bank has already contributed $500m, with the Federal Government also contributing N500m to the project.
Benefiting states in the country have also made their contributions as follows;
1) Anambra – N500m
2) Cross River – N200m
3) Ebonyi – N200m
4) Imo – N100m
Honourable Members also called on all stakeholders to show greater commitment to the project in order to ensure its successful implementation, specifically asking the ministry to step-up its coordination efforts, while urging the states to step-up more efforts in the allocation and management of land for the project.
The seven benefiting states involved in the NEWMAP include:
The interactive session which was held at the instance of the House Committee on Environment to deliberate on the implementation of the 2014 budget and chat the way forward for the 2015 budget is expected to resume in a forth night.
Ben. Bem. Goong
Deputy Director (Press)