NEMA’s DG denies receipt of N33 billion for North East rescue

Amid a barrage of financial malfeasance allegations, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, has denied receiving N33 billion as intervention fund for either the North East or any part of the federation.

During a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the DG, who could not place figures to the intervention funds received by the agency so far, held that the programmes were of various forms, and as such, cannot be summed together.He was, however, quick to point out that the whole funds were not up to the N33 billion being peddled by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

Mahaija said he was only aware of the N1.6 billion released for flood intervention in 16 states and the N826 million approved for transportation of relief materials. He listed another N1.6 billion for the evacuation of Nigerians in Libya and a N10 billion ecological fund from which N3.7 billion had been spent.

The DG said N1.98 billion of the sum was expended between January and April by his predecessor, while he spent N1.7 billion from April to February 2017 when the report was submitted to the Reps panel. He dismissed being queried by the presidency but acknowledged petitions from many agencies, including the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Department of State Services (DSS), and another from a Nigerian that was forwarded to him from the office of the vice president.

On the N1.6 billion for flood victims, the NEMA boss stated that the funds were distributed to the affected states at the conclusion of assessment.His words: “A total of N1.6 billion was expended in the provision of needed infrastructure in all of the affected states, except the Bayelsa State government which demanded N20 million as logistics to distribute the materials to the local governments. And since we refused, they refused to give us letter, but the items were transported to their warehouses.”

He maintained that due process was strictly followed in the distribution of the relief materials, adding: “Since I came in, we work together with state emergency management agencies in making assessment and distribution.”

Mahaija clarified that 271 containers of the Chinese rice for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the troubled region were dispatched to Maiduguri, Damaturu, Yola, Jalingo, Gombe and Bauchi at a cost of N518 million. He said the entire products amounted to N2.26 billion.

News Reporter

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