Reps threaten to order arrest of NEMA DG

The House of Representative in Chamber ... members are notorious for budget mutilation
The House of Representative in Chamber ... members are notorious for budget mutilation

For failing to appear three times in a row at the ongoing investigation of allegations of violation of public trust by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness has threatened to issue an arrest warrant against the Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja.

Speaking during the public hearing on Thursday, chairman of the committee, Ali Isa (PDP, Gombe) said Mr Maihaja had refused to honor the invitations of the committee three consecutive times.

He said Mr Maihaja was fond of sending notices of his absence from the hearing ”either 30 minutes before the meeting commences or when it has already commenced.”

Earlier during the hearing, the committee directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance and other relevant parties to provide all transaction details of N5.6 billion funds released to four companies in relation to the Emergency Food Programme in the North-east.

The committee chairman revealed that the documents will be used to guide the panel to ”uncover the mystery surrounding the release of funds and to establish whether it was given to the companies as a loan or under whatever condition”.

The decision to ask for the documents arose when beneficiaries of the contract to mop up grains, which were said to have been distributed in the North-east, complained.

The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has revealed that they (firms) were selected for the job without asking for a loan to finance it from the CBN, while the bank, on the other hand, insisted that the N5.6 billion was a loan.

The committee has given Mr Maihaja an extra grace to appear before it on May 31 or face arrest.

The panel is investigating the release of N5.9 billion Food Intervention in the North-east, N3.1 billion Food Intervention in the same region, release of N1.6 billion for Libyan returnees, release of N1.6 billion Flood Intervention for 16 states and donation of 6,779 Metric Tons of rice by the Chinese Government.

Various persons and groups have appeared and testified before the committee in the past one month.

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