- Theft, Sack Gale Threaten N10b GGW Project
Lack of community ownership and theft of submersible machines (popularly known as borehole pumping facility) is threatening the success of the Great Green Wall (GGW) programme.
The project being implemented by the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Environment got N10 billion approval from the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration for its implementation.
It is saddled to plant wall of trees across the 11 northern states severely threatened by desertification, provide potable water and empower the host communities among other targets. The benefiting states include Borno, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Adamawa and Bauchi. Others are Gombe, Zamfara and Yobe States. It was gathered that 157 boreholes have been constructed in the states since 2013.
But the project according to a top source in the agency is suffering various setbacks including allege sack of over 700 forest guards by the ministry. The guards were reportedly engaged and were being paid stipends as part of job creation window of the project.
The source, who did not want his name in print, explained that aside from theft, iron wires used to cordon the borehole facilities were destroyed in order to access the facilities especially at night. He explained that the contractors had to improvise by hiding the submersible machines away from the main spot of the borehole.
“They went to the borehole digging and looking for the submersible pumping machines. They usually go in the night to dig the pumping machine that is normally underground, remove and sell. They had stolen so many on the sites and we have replaced several.
“So what the engineers do now is that they don’t fix it close to the place, they hide it away. Some people have been arrested and the cases are in court while some are with the police.”
The source blamed community leaders and youth representatives, who ought to have taken active ownership of the intervention projects such as repairing faulty parts of the machines but depended on the government to fix the minor problems.
However, he noted that few communities from the project site who recognised importance of the project volunteered to provide local security, thus safeguarding the equipment.
“In some areas where the people have realised importance of the programme, they come out on their own like vigilante in the night and because most of the sites have security post with lights. Some of them set up camps under the lights safeguarding the projects,” he added.
The NAGGW Katsina State Field Officer, Umar Yusuf during a phone interview affirmed the situation saying Katsina has the highest number of projects among the 11 States. He acknowledged the re-occuring cases of pumping machine thefts and damaged borehole systems but could not provide details of replaced borehole machines in the state.
“There is a lot of reluctance on the community to really take care of the investment in their custody. That is what leads to the stealing of the submersible pumps. The community left it in the night without anyone watching.
“There are some boreholes having technical fault while some have been stolen,” Yusuf added.
The agency’s Director-General, Goni Ahmed warned over gradual spread of desert encroachment to other parts of the country. He said about 43 per cent of the nation’s landmass is currently threatened by desert encroachment.
In his reaction, the Environment Minister, Ibrahim Jibril denied claims of machine thefts. He said his recent visit to few of the states showed contrary, adding that that the communities appreciated the interventions.
However, Jibril explained that the forest guards were not sacked but government terminated their involvement in the project to improve it and ensure steady payment.
Describing the forest guard recruitment as ‘job for the boys’, Jibril noted that the process of recruitment was faulty, not credible and enmeshed with irregularities, adding that there was no budgetary provision.
“This issue of engaging people, in the first place, you must know that there must be a budgetary provision for them. You don’t recruit people and don’t pay them. We must plan for this; remember we inherited this programme and at the time we came, those so called engagement you are talking about, i don’t even know the figure and i won’t tell you a lie, is like creating jobs for the boys, and then anything you link to politics in those days, you are not going to get the results.
“It doesn’t make sense for me to recruit someone who will not go to the field to take care of the trees. I went to Sokoto and Kebbi states last year and I asked the leaders of the communities not the commissioner or the permanent secretary, I went to see the village heads and ward heads and when they came, the first question I asked is that are you using this water for you domestic use? He said yes in fact they are most grateful and they would have starved without this water,” Jibril stated.
However, the minister said plans are ongoing to structure the recruitment process in the Head of Service (HoS), include it in the budget and ensure there is steady payment of salaries and other benefits.
“At that time, the idea was not to get them permanently engaged, it was to give them just a period of months to sustain the trees and even at that a lot of them were not reporting, so when the time expired and there was no budgetary provision for them they had to stop.
“We will address that issue. We have written to the Head of Service and also the Office of Budget and National Planning; we must have to get people properly structured in the payroll and have budgetary provisions to pay them.
“If you employ and you don’t pay it is a recipe for disaster. If the man is hungry and takes away the pump what are you going to do about it? We will be getting unintended results. So what we are planning now is to make sure that what has happened before will not be repeated now. Once we engage you, we will make sure that you stay and you are employed properly, the community will be involved; we will get people from the community,” Jibril added.
NAGGW Director of Information, Mrs. Larai Daze in her reaction said the agency already intensified sensitisation campaign on need for host communities to own the projects.
She said aside from 600 kilometers of Shelterbelt which serves as wind breakers, over 200 kilometers of woodlots have been planted as alternative to felling of trees.
“We have almost 600 km of Shelterbelts already established all over the states. We have over 200km of Woodlots and almost 300 hectares of fruit trees such as Guava, Orange, Mangoetc planted across the 11 states,” she stated.
TAJBank Joins e-Commerce Giants- Launches Nigeria’s 1st Ethical Online Mall
TaJBank Launches Ethical Online Mall
Abuja Nigeria July 8th, 2020 Nigeria’s most innovative Non-Interest Bank, TAJBank, has announced the highly anticipated launch of TAJMall, the nation’s first ethical online shopping mall.
The highly anticipated launch of the e-commerce site, which held recently, is coming closely on the heels of the commencement of its Agency Banking Network which began in June across thirteen (13) states in the country.
To celebrate this milestone, the brand will be holding a week long TAJMall campaign from 6th – 11th July 2020 to sensitize and also reward its new customers to its platform.
“This is a great milestone as we present a fully customer focused e- commerce platform offering 100 percent authentic brands from highly vetted vendors. Our mission is to rebuild trust in the online shopping niche, hence the emphasis on our platform being an ethical shopping mall. We want to deliver on our promise and make this an enjoyable and safe experience not just for our customers, but also for our numerous trusted vendors as well,” said Founder/COO TAJBank, Hamid Joda.
“Our customers place absolute trust that goods will be delivered exactly as requested, and we do not take that trust lightly, he added.
The brand expressed commitment to continuously deploy technological tools on it’s new e- platform to maintain optimal customer service delivery and ensure shopping on TAJMall remains a productive and hassle free experience.
Customers who log onto the tajmall.ng platform (or download the app), will have the opportunity to enjoy massive price slashes, shopping coupons, free shipping and other incredible offers. The Bank also intends to offer financing to its customers who shop on the mall.
“Well beyond our exciting line up of activities, they are assured the highest level of value each time they make a purchase on TAJMall. Our marketing insights have shown that there is an increasing need to match the kind of variety in product offerings that customers yearn for with the exceptional shopping experience that may at times be lacking. We aim to make that an unmatched experience right from the moment our customers visit our mall to the receipt of their items,” affirmed Co-Founder/CMO, Mr Sherif Idi.
Customers shopping on TAJ Mall are guaranteed 100% authenticity, official warranties from the brands, and a 5 day return policy at no extra cost to the customer.
Warren Buffet to Give Out Another $2.9bn, Total Donations Now $37bn
Warren Buffet Gives Away $2.9bn, Total Donations Now $37bn
Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, has announced his yearly charitable donations to the five philanthropies he picked to donate most of his fortune to.
The billionaire plans to give out 15.9 million class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway worth $2.9 billion to the five philanthropies. This will bring his total philanthropic donations to $37 billion since 2006.
Buffet, who has promised to give away about 99 percent of his fortune, still hold 248,734 Class A shares of Berkshire valued at around $67.5 billion.
However, before he began given out his shares, Oracle of Omaha held 474,998 Class A shares of Berkshire, which would have worth about $129 billion as of today.
UBA Appoints Ayoku Liadi, Oliver Alawuba as Deputy Managing Directors
UBA Appoints New Deputy Managing Directors for its Growing Business
United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) announced the appointments of Ayoku Liadi and Oliver Alawuba as the Deputy Managing Directors in charge of UBA’s Nigeria and Africa businesses, respectively.
In a statement issued by the bank and released on the Exchange’s website, the bank said the creation of the new positions represents further strategic recognition of the bank’s pan-African business growth.
The lender explained that its pan-African business now accounts for over 40 percent of its Group revenue, while Nigeria remains the bank’s largest market.
According to the bank, the new Deputy Managing Directors will report directly to the Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kennedy Uzoka.
Speaking on the new appointments, Tony O. Elumelu, Group Chairman, said “In 2005, we set out our pan-African vision. Fifteen years later, we are present in 20 African countries, serving over 20 million clients, leveraging our service culture and technology platform, to provide an integrated and seamless customer offering across the continent.
“In Africa, we lead in innovation and service, whilst our International Business, operating from New York, Paris and London, provides global and African clients access to treasury, trade finance and corporate banking products, uniquely tailored to the African opportunity. These senior appointments represent our commitment to optimise our management structure to best serve our clients and drive our business success.”
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