The Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has inaugurated Local Government Implementation Committees for the World Bank-supported Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) project.
The Mandate Secretary of the Secretariat, Mr Lawan Geidam, inaugurated the committees for each of the six Areas Councils of the FCT, in Abuja on Friday.
Geidam said that the goal of the committees was to foster a sense of ownership and encourage community participation in aspects of the project being implemented at community and household levels.
He explained that the committee would be made up of the Chairmen of the Area Councils as chairmen, with the Head of Departments of Works, Agriculture and Environment as members.
Other members include facilitators who are subject specialists 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 liaison to the State Project Management Unit (SPMU) and Secretariat, Departments and Agencies and provide support to stakeholder analysis and identification for implementation activities.
“Facilitate the implementation of the watershed management strategies and report to the SPMU on the Area Council’s progress towards meeting intervention targets.
“They will also supervise maintenance of intervention works.”
He explained that the ACReSAL Project was a community-based initiative funded by the World Bank in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Environment, and Water Resources.
Geidam said that the project was specifically designed to tackle the challenge of landscape degradation and promote effective watershed management.
This, he said, would build community resilience to climate change and bolster agricultural production for enhanced livelihood in the 19 northern states of Nigeria and the FCT.
Geidam said that FCT became actively involved in the project in 2022, under the guidance of the Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU).
He said that FCT had met all the necessary prerequisites to access the World ACReSAL Project funds.
“We anticipate that the remaining five-year duration of this project will bring about significant enhancements, not only in our environment but also in the livelihoods of our communities.
“I urge you all, especially the Chairmen of the six Area Councils, to see this project as a golden opportunity to enrich the lives of your people,” Geidam said.
Earlier, the Project Coordinator, FCT ACReSAL, Mrs Caroline Opara, said that inaugurating the committee was crucial considering the community approach to the implementation of the program.
Opara said that the committee, inaugurated for each of the Area Councils, would ensure inclusiveness and effective implementation of the project and sustainability of the intervention made in any community.
She said that some of the interventions to be made in the communities include provision of solar powered boreholes, standalone solar light, farmer-led irrigation, and reclamation of degraded forest reserves among others.
“Your support. is therefore, highly needed for the successful implementation of the ACReSAL project across communities in the FCT,” Opara said.
The National Coordinator of the project, Mr Abdulhamid Umar, said a $700 million loan was secured from the world bank in 2021 for the ACReSAL project and became effective in 2022.
Umar, however, said that no state would access the facility without providing their own counterpart fund.
He said that the FCT had paid N334 million as a counter fund and urged the FCT Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, to settle the balance, adding that the minimum was N500 million while the maximum was N1 billion.
He said that so far, the project had accessed over N11 billion from the implementing states as counterpart funds.