For what it termed spurious allegations, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has taken a House of Representatives committee to the cleaners, and unveiled how members visit it and undermine themselves.
Reacting to allegations that the Agency has spent N13 billion in a month, its spokesman, Mr. Sani Datti, said the allegations by the Chairman of the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and a member of House of Representatives is without factual basis, fraudulent, malicious, and exist only in the imagination of its makers.
He said further, in a statement, “For the record, the Agency is constrained to inform the public that on the assumption of new Director General, only the sum of 4.6 million Naira was in the Account of the Agency to cater, among other things, for the multitude of problems including 1.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East.
“The problem also got compounded by a report from Humanitarian Actors that due to scaling down of funding by the Donor Agencies, their activities in North east will also necessarily be scaled down.
“Furthermore, it was reported that there was apprehension over imminent hunger and famine. Faced with this staggering reality on ground and paucity of fund at that time facing the Agency, coupled with the need to act decisively, the Director General of Agency was forced to urgently raised the issue with the Acting President who magnanimously approved the released of 30,905 metric tonnes of assorted food items from the government Strategic Reserve for immediate distribution to the affected communities by the Agency.
“The Agency was mandated to effect immediate distribution sometimes around mid- May
“The Acting President kicked off the programme on 8th June 2017, tagged ‘Emergency Food Intervention In North East’. It must be stressed that the only fund released to the agency was N829 million for distribution, logistics, security and associated costs. Out of this sum, only about the sum of N200 million has been expended so far.
“On the second leg of the allegation that the DG was invited three times by the Committee to explain how he expended the “ alleged N13 billion” and he refused to honour the invitation on each occasion, this too, was also a fabrication and blatant misrepresentation of fact.
“From all indications, this again was meant to portray the DG in bad light and cause disaffection between the members of the National Assembly and the Agency, thereby jeopardizing the mutual and beneficial working relationship developed over time.
“On the said three invitations referred to, we wish to state that when the Agency was about honouring the first invitation, the Chairman of the Committee personally appeared in the Agency Headquarters and instructed the management not to honour the invitation, as same was conveyed without his authorization.
“On the second invitation, we wish to state categorically and without fear of any contradiction whatsoever that the Management of the Agency honoured the invitation.
“When the third invitation was extended to the Agency and in view of the fact that during the period, the DG was away to Banki (Borno State) on an urgent emergency mission, the Agency wrote to the Committee expressing its inability to hounour the invitation. The committee even officially acknowledged the said letter.
“It is therefore curious, surprising and most unfortunate that in spite of available evidences confirming the true and actual position of what transpired, the presenter could still fabricate and/ or concoct lies, deliberate falsehood and/or misrepresentation (to) the mind of public to achieve a sinister motive, which we believe is not the position of the Committee.
“The entire publication, for all intent and purposes, is intended to cause confusion, distrust and mislead the public. It is self-serving and politically motivated. From all indication the publications may not have been genuinely authorized and same should be discarded.