By Abubakar Hassan Gimba, Abuja
Engineer Mustapha Maihaja, the director general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has denied the allegation of misappropriating N33b by the House of Representatives.
He 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 committee that brought the charges was inaccurate in its report whereas in two different places charged him with misappropriating N18B and in the other N10B so he rubbished the claims of misappropriation of funds in his administration.
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.
“The Emergency Intervention of Food security in the North East (EFINE) came into being due to the emergence of Boko Haram terrorist group and the high rate of insurgency in the area which has lead to the lost of farm produce, equipments and of productive land.
“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 in the IDP camp’s and displaced individuals.
“The movement of the grains was well-coordinated with a high security escort which included almost all the Armed Forces and the trucks transporting the grains were being monitored via GPS tracking system and there was no reported case of bags being lost or spoiling during transportation and storage.
“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 those issues to be raised to NEMA or the acting president,’’ Engr. Maihaja said.
Engr. 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 spent 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 and he further said military storage facilities in Yobe State.
“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 with the exception of Bayelsa state who requested a further N20 million for the distribution of the relief materials which he said NEMA weren’t authorized to give.
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 the Federal Government.
He said the agency has documents and facts of all its interventions to justify prudent use of all funds.