Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has denied allegation by the National Assembly members that it received un-appropriated funds from the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for the care of people in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.
Members of House of Representatives Committee on Emergency had in its recent investigative report, accused the Vice President and NEMA Director General, Mustapha Maihaja, of illegally withdrawing N5.8 billion and using it for the purpose other than intended.
Maihaja told journalists, in Abuja, on Wednesday, that the allegation was untrue, explaining that only N826 million was received from the Vice President’s office for the purchase of food and non-food items for thousands of victims displaced by the activities of dreaded Boko Haram insurgents.
He said he was not aware of how the lawmakers came about the figure, thus asking Nigerians to disregard the report because of several discrepancies in several figures contained in the report.
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Regarding the issue of rice that was donated by Chinese Government to Nigeria for IDPs, the NEMA boss confirmed that Chinese Government donated 6,779 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria as support to victims of northeast insurgency.
He said that, in simple term, 135,550 units of 50kg bags of rice was received from Chinese government and it arrived Apapa ports in five shipments between June and October, 2017.
He explained that the cost of shipment and storage for the 271 containers that brought the consignment was N518 million. And the financial value of the consignment of was N2. 24 billion (50.05 million yuan).”
He further confirmed that N1. 6 billion was released by the Federal Government for urgent intervention in 16 states that was submerged by flood in 2017.
The fund, he said, was judiciously disbursed to all the states according to agreement reached with the states prior to the financial release.
He explained: “The agreement was that each state will get N100 million worth of relief materials. It was never agreed that the items would be distributed through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) but to the beneficiaries.
“That was why some of them told the lawmakers that they didn’t receive the items. But it was distributed to the victims of the flood.”
He however accused Bayelsa state officials of asking for N20 million “bribe” for them to distribute the relief materials to victims of flood.