By PRUDENCE IJAH, ABUJA
The Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mustapha Maihaja on Wednesday denied alleged misappropriation of N33 billion and the approval of N5.8 billion naira to the agency by the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Director General, Mustapha Maihaja said the federal government approved the release of 5,000 MT to World Food Programme (WFP) upon their request in May 2017, based on the decision of presidential committee.
He said the request by World Food Programme to import the rice had a direct negative impact on government position against rice importation.
Maihaji stated that the budget of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) for the period of January to April 2017 was $1.05 billion. The sum of 590 million naira was for food and nutrition.
Recall that no fewer than 162,696 bags of rice worth N414 million, donated by the Chinese government to the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, for distribution to internally-displaced persons, IDPs, are alleged to be currently rotting away in the agency’s warehouse.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, recently released pictures of the product, barely 24 hours after the House of Representatives Committee probing the alleged misappropriation of N33 billion by NEMA and the approval of N5.8 billion for the agency by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, submitted its report.
Special Adviser on Media to the Speaker, Turaki Hassan, who released the pictures on his principal’s behalf, said: “The rice, which NEMA refused to distribute to IDPs in Adamawa and Taraba states, was donated by the Chinese government in aid of the displaced persons.
“As a result of NEMA’s action, the rice has expired and unfit for human consumption.”
The House of Representatives has also called for the retrieval of N800 million, which NEMA claimed it spent on demurrage on the expired rice.
The lawmakers also said NEMA’s Director General, Mustapha Maihaji, who they had recommended for removal, is being protected by the Vice President and the Presidency.
Maihaja said that the his response was an obligation as a means of giving Nigerians adequate information of its operations within the period, saying all the documents were intact for verifications.