… direct staff to doctor procurement and delivery documents
….. panel uncovers another set of hidden rice in Lagos
Embattled management of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) under Director-General, Mustapha Maihaja, has allegedly commenced desperate moves to evacuate and dispose about 6,779 metric tons of rice donated by the Chinese government for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons in the North East.
This followed discovery by the House of Representatives committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness which indicted Maihaja for alleged fraud, misappropriation and embezzlement of whopping sum of N33 billion of funds released to the agency in just one year.
According to the House of Representatives, information available to the committee indicates that a top executive of NEMA and one of his directors arrived in Gombe early Wednesday and have already contacted NEMA officers in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Taraba states to allegedly prepare and forge papers to claim that they received the items while making effort to evacuate and dispose the items from the warehouse in Gombe.
The committee has further discovered that hundreds of metric tons of the Chinese donated rice have been kept under lock and key in a private warehouse in Lagos under questionable circumstances.
“We are intensifying efforts to unravel the mystery surrounding how the rice was diverted from the ports to the said warehouse instead of being transported directly to the affected states for onward distribution to IDPs who are dying of hunger, starvation and malnutrition,”a statement from the committee chaired by Hon Ali Isa J. C said.
“The committee wants to use this opportunity to alert members of the public to watch out and be careful so that they don’t buy or consume the rotten rice which will pose great risk to their health.”
Another source in the agency disclosed that top management staff have been allegedly directed to alter procurement and relief items distribution documents so as to cover his tracks.
“We want the public to be vigilant especially residents of Gombe where the wasted rice was allowed to rot despite paying the sum of N800 million as cost of demurrage accumulated at the port by NEMA,” the source said.
Early on Wednesday, images of the 271 trucks and approximately 162,696 bags of rice the wasted bags of rice was released by the Committee which jolted the public attracting wide condemnations from all section of the country.
This is happening at a time the country is facing acute shortage of food for IDPs causing malnutrition in children.
According to the United Nations, Nigeria is still facing a crisis of global magnitude with 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the north east.