NEMA DG speaks on N33 bn scandal

NEMA boss Mustapha Maihaja
NEMA boss Mustapha Maihaja

Mustapha Maihaja, Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has denied misappropriating N33 billion as alleged by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

Mr Maihaja denied the allegation while briefing journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, where he shed more light on activities and interventions of the agency.

He described the public response as an obligation to adequately inform Nigerians on what truly happened in NEMA.

He said the House of Representatives’ committee got the whole figures mixed up, leading it to make the accusation.

The House at its plenary on November 8 received the report of the committee led by Isa Ali, alleging violation of public trust against NEMA.

He denied receiving N5.8 billion for the Emergency Intervention of Food Security in the North East (EFINE) as contained in the committee’s report.

He explained that NEMA only got about N800 million while other funds were paid directly to contractors.

“The Emergency Intervention of Food security in the North East (EFINE) came into beings 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 that got missing in 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,’’ Mr Maihaja said.

Mr Maihaja also explained that 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.

He said in total, 271 containers arrived Apapa Port from China in five shipments between June and October 2017.

He explained that the agency expended N518 million on shipping and storage charges for the 271 containers donated by China.

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

He said thereafter, NEMA commenced the immediate clearing and subsequent haulage of the donated rice to Maiduguri, Damaturu, Yola, Jalingo, Gombe and Bauchi.

“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.

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

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

He explained that NEMA immediately conducted assessments and established the needs before moving in with relief materials.

“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 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.

He said the operation was highly successful with prudent fund management after which the unspent balance was returned to the coffers of FG.

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

(NAN)

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