ABUJA—Director General of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, has denied allegations by the House of Representatives committee that he mismanaged at least N33 billion which should have gone into catering for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, and other emergency issues.
Maihaja, who spoke at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, said the House of Representatives shot itself in the foot by alleging the misappropriation of such fund when NEMA had never had such huge budgetary provision since he assumed office at the agency.
He also denied receiving N5.8 billion from the Federal Government, noting that NEMA only got about N800 million, while some other funds where paid to the contractors.
He further explained that the agency expended N518 million on shipping and storage charges for the 271 containers donated by the Peoples Republic of China, as a gesture of its brotherly relations with Nigeria.
“China donated 6, 779 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria as part of its support to the North East humanitarian efforts and this is equivalent to 135,550 units of 50kg bags of rice.
‘’In total, 271 containers arrived at Apapa Port from China in five shipments between June and October 2017.
“The original shipping documents and Customs Exemption Certificates were handed over to NEMA by the Ministry of Budget & National Planning in December 2017 and January 2018. Thereafter, NEMA commenced the immediate clearing and subsequent haulage of the donated rice to Maiduguri, Damaturu, Yola, Jalingo, Gombe and Bauchi.
“Being a donated consignment, it required duty exemption and other waivers before clearing. The government had restricted the importation of rice, hence the process of getting the proper documentation also took extra time.
“The total cost of shipping and storage charges for the 271 containers was N518 million. We have all the receipts to prove this. The actual cost of the donated rice is N2.24 billion (50.05 million Chinese Yuan).
“The invoices, by convention, bears the consignee’s name. However, NEMA, being the agency that cleared the goods, made the payments on behalf of the Federal Government.
“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.”
‘’The Chinese rice was used for monthly feeding of the IDPs, specifically in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, with balance in stock in Gombe, Bauchi and Taraba.’’
On the receipt and utilisation of N1.6 billion for flood victims in 16 states, Maihaja said: “In the case of the flood intervention in 12 states which was covered in the legislative report, N1.6 billion was released after the flood had occurred at different times in the respective states.
‘’We 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 are available.”