The Secretariat for Agriculture and Rural Development of the Federal Capital Territories has launched local government executive committees for a World Bank-supported project on agro-climatic resilience in semi-arid landscapes.
On Friday, Secretariat Mandate Secretary Lawan Geidam inaugurated the committees for each of the six district councils of the FCT in Abuja.
Geidam said the purpose of the committees was to build ownership and encourage community participation in the community and household aspects of the project.
He explained that the committee will include chairmen of district councils as chairmen, and its members will include heads of the works, agriculture and environment departments.
The other members are subject specialist facilitators and relevant non-governmental organizations.
According to him, the committee will be responsible for overall supervision of the project at the local government level.
Geidam said: “The committee will also act as a liaison with the state project management entity, secretariat, departments and agencies and provide support in stakeholder analysis and identification for implementation activities.
“Facilitate the implementation of the watershed management strategy and report to the SPMU on the area council’s progress in achieving intervention targets. They will also supervise the maintenance of intervention works.”
He explained that the ACreSAL project is a community-based initiative funded by the World Bank in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources.
Geidam said the project aimed to address the challenge of landscape degradation and promote effective watershed management.
He added that this would increase communities’ resilience to climate change and enhance agricultural production for better livelihoods in the 19 northern states of Nigeria and the FCT.
Geidam said the FCT was actively engaged in the project in 2022 under the leadership of the Federal Project Management Unit.
He added that FCT has met all necessary conditions to access funds from the global ACReSAL project.
“We anticipate that the remaining five-year duration of this project will result in significant improvements not only to our environment, but also to the livelihoods of our communities. I call on all of you, especially the presidents of the six district councils, to see this project as a great opportunity to enrich the lives of your citizens,” Geidam said.
Earlier, project coordinator, FCT ACReSAL, Caroline Opara, said that the inauguration of the committee was crucial, considering the social approach to the implementation of the program.
Ms Opara said the committee established for each of the district councils would ensure the inclusiveness and effective implementation of the project and the sustainability of the intervention undertaken in each community.
She said some of the interventions that need to be undertaken in communities include provision of solar-powered boreholes, self-contained solar lamps, farmer-led irrigation and rehabilitation of degraded forest reserves, among others.
“Your support is therefore very much needed to successfully implement the ACReSAL project among communities in the FCT,” Opara said.
National project coordinator Abdulhamid Umar said that in 2021, the World Bank secured a $700 million loan for the ACReSAL project, which will become effective in 2022.
Umar, however, said that no country would gain access to the facility without providing adequate funding.
He said the FCT had paid N334 million as counter fund and called on FCT Minister Nyesom Wike to settle the balance, adding that the minimum amount was N500 million and the maximum was N1 billion.
He said the project has so far accessed over N11 billion from implementing states as complementary funds.