Politics

NEMA DG, Maihaja, denies misappropriating N33 billion

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Director-General (DG) of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, has denied the report of the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, which accused him of misappropriating N33 billion.

Maihaja, who addressed newsmen on the matter in Abuja on Wednesday, took his time to shed more light on activities and interventions of the agency.

The committee led by Isa Ali, had during the plenary of the House on November 8, submitted its report indicting NEMA and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the misappropriation of the alleged sum.

But NEMA DG told newsmen that the lawmakers accused him of fraud because they got the whole figures mixed up.

While denying that he received N5.8 billion for the Emergency Intervention of Food Security in the North East as contained in the committee’s report, Maihaja explained that NEMA only got about N800 million while other funds were paid directly to contractors.

He said, “The Emergency Intervention of Food security in the North East came into being due to a number of factors and the project demand was a clear case of an emergency.

“In the course of the programme, grains were moved from various warehouses in Ibadan, Funtua, Kano, Gombe and Kaduna to the North East to cater for the dire food needs of victims of insurgency.

“The movement of the grains was well-coordinated with adequate security and there was no reported case of a single bag of grain missing during the movement.

“As part of the process of monitoring the project, a visit was undertaken by the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning on August 7 and 8, 2017 to Bauchi, Yola and Maiduguri.

“During those visits, no issues were raised by the states and throughout the entire process, we did not receive any feedback, positive or negative on the process.

“Taken into cognizance the open door policy we had taken and the long tenure of the project, there were many avenues for these issues to be raised to NEMA or the acting president.”

Making further explanation, he said the People’s Republic of China donated 6,779 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria as part of its support to the North East humanitarian efforts.

He said the quantity of the rice was 135,550 units of 50kg bags and was brought in 271 containers which arrived Apapa Port from China in five shipments between June and October 2017.

According to him, the agency expended N518 million on shipping and storage charges for the 271 containers donated by China.

The original shipping documents and Custom Exemption Certificates, the NEMA DG said, were handed over to the agency by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in December 2017 and January 2018.

“To further justify that the items were received on behalf of the Federal Government, they were delivered into NEMA warehouses in Gombe, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa and warehouses provided by the state governments in Bauchi, Taraba and Yobe.

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“The Chinese rice was used for the monthly feeding of the IDPs specifically in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states with balance in stock at Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba,” he explained.

In the case of the flood intervention in the 12 states which was mentioned in the legislative report, he said N1.6 billion was released after the flood had occurred at different times.

He said after the flood incident that NEMA conducted assessments and established the needs before moving in with relief materials, adding that the agency delivered the items to the 12 states between September and November 2017 and subsequently the remaining four states.

“Evidence of receipt of the items by the respective state governments is available,” he said.

Maihaja went further to explain that following the international outcry of cases of slavery in Libya towards the end of 2017, the Federal Government commenced the massive evacuation of Nigerians from Libya, an operation he said was highly successful with prudent fund management after which the unspent balance was returned to the coffers of FG.

The DG of NEMA said the agency had documents and facts of all its interventions to justify the prudent use of all funds.

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