NEMA dismisses alleged mismanagement of funds, resources

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United Bank for Africa

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has dismissed the alleged violation of public trust against the agency by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Management.

Mr Sani Datti, NEMA, Head of Media and Public Relations made this known on Friday in a statement in Abuja.

Datti said that the agency was in shock hearing about some of the findings and conclusion presented by the committee on the issue during Thursday plenary.

On Thursday at plenary, the House of Representatives urged President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve the Managing Director of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Mustapha Maihaja of his duties over alleged mismanagement of resources.

This followed the adoption of a report of the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness at plenary.

According to Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Ali Isa, based on the investigation conducted, it has been established that the Federal Government lost over N33 billion due to alleged mismanagement by Maihaja.

He also expressed reservation over the handling of the 6,779 metric tonnes of rice donated for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the Northeast by the Chinese Government.

“On the issue of donation of 6,779 tonnes of rice by the Chinese Government for IDPs in the North-east, the House condemned the negligence.

“The committee also condemned the inefficiency of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and NEMA for the long delay in the collection of the donated rice from the port terminal.

“The Committee therefore called on anti graft agencies to investigate and prosecute all those involved.

Datti said, “We were shocked to hear some of the findings and conclusions presented by the Committee on the issues, which did not reflect the facts and documents placed before it by NEMA.“

“While we shall in due course be making a more comprehensive response to all the points made, it is most important to clarify the following.

“On the Port Clearance and Transportation of Emergency Food Assistance by Chinese Government, the Federal Government received 6,779 tonnes of rice for IDPs in the North-East as donation by the Chinese Government.

“This amounted to 271 containers, which arrived Apapa Ports between June and October 2017.

“The processes of securing duty exemption, waivers and other related issues took several months, but the total quantity was subsequently cleared from the Apapa Port, transported and delivered to NEMA warehouses in the North East.

“It was thereafter distributed to the IDPs in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.

“Documents on the transaction, including distribution to the IDPs, were made available to the Committee.

“The correct total value of the rice is about N2.25 billion (50 million Chinese Yuan) and the amount spent on clearing, demurrage and storage was about N450 million, not the N800 million as alleged by the committee. ’’

On EFCC Investigation of the suspended staff of NEMA, Datti said the suspension of the six NEMA officers was a decision of its Governing Council, based on the Interim Report of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

He said the reports allegedly indicted the officers for financial misappropriation.

He added that the suspension was in line with Public Service Rules and the extant Guidelines on Appointment, Promotion and Discipline.

On the approval of N1.6 billion granted by the Federal Government for the Procurement and Delivery of Relief Items to 16 States affected by Flood in 2017, the spokesman said due process was observed in the procurement of the relief items.

He added that all items meant for the 16 states were received and acknowledged by respective State Governments. Documents evidencing the acknowledgement of the items were made available to the House Committee.

On the Federal Government Emergency Food Intervention in the North-East (EFINE), he said EFINE was a project implemented by a Presidential Committee comprising of relevant ministries and agencies of government.

Datti said that the project was in response to the threat of hunger and starvation in the North-East as reported by the agencies of government on the ground, corroborated by the United Nations in April 2017.

“All approvals were secured in accordance with due process, while the Committee and the UN World Food Programme worked collaboratively in the sourcing and distribution of the food items.

“The originating memorandum on the project was submitted by NEMA on 2 June 2017 for Presidential approval.

“All suppliers in EFINE were selected following due process. Copies of all relevant documents in respect of the project were made available to the House Committee.’’

On the evacuation of Nigerians from Libya, the spokesman said that the exercise was a multi-agency operation, undertaken jointly with all relevant stakeholders.

He said Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Intelligence Agency, and Department of State Security, joined in evacuating the stranded Nigerians.

Others he said were: NAPTIP, National Commission for Refugees, relevant State Governments, among others.

Datti added that 2,130 Nigerians were evacuated in the operation.