By Ajogwu Jerry
Authorities of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has debunked the allegations of violation of public trust, mismanagement and embezzlement of funds levelled against it by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Emergency and Preparedness Response.
According to a statement signed by Sani Datti, Head of Media and Public Relations made available to journalists on Thursday, November 8, in Abuja, the agency expressed shock at the parochial findings and conclusions of the committee which it said is false.
Datti maintained that the report of the committee did not reflect the facts and documents NEMA had submitted to it.
He hinted that while, the agency would, in due course, present a more comprehensive response to all the points raised, it was important to make some clarifications.
On the port clearance and transportation of emergency food assistance, Datti said that the federal government had received 6,779 tonnes of rice for IDPs in the north-east as donation by the Chinese government.
He revealed: “This amounted to 271 containers, which arrived Apapa Ports between June and October 2017.
“The processes of securing duty exemption, waivers and other related issues took several months, but the total quantity was subsequently cleared from Apapa Port, transported and delivered to NEMA warehouses in the north-east.
“It was thereafter distributed to the IDPs in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.”
He said that documents on the transaction, including distribution to the IDPs were made available to the committee.
According to him, the correct total value of the rice is about N2.25 billion (50 million Chinese Yuan) and that the amount spent on clearing, demurrage and storage was about N450 Million, not N800 million as alleged by the committee.
On the suspension of six NEMA officers, he explained that the agency’s Governing Council took that decision based on the interim report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which investigated the matter.
He said: “The EFCC indicted them for financial misappropriation. The suspension was in line with public service rules and the extant guidelines on appointment, promotion and discipline.’’
Datti further made clarification on the approval of N1.6 billion grant by the federal government for the procurement and delivery of relief items to 16 flood-ravaged states in 2017.
He explained that due process was observed in the procurement of the relief items and that all items meant for the 16 states were received and acknowledged by the respective state governments.
According to him, documents showing acknowledgement of the items were made available to the House committee.
Datti statted that the Federal Government Emergency Food Intervention in the North-East (EFINE), was a project implemented by a presidential committee comprising relevant ministries and agencies of government.
He explained that the implementation of EFINE was in response to the threat of hunger and starvation in the north- east as reported by the agencies of government and corroborated by the United Nations (UN) in April 2017.
He said that all approvals were secured in accordance with due process, while the committee and the UN World Food Programme worked collaboratively in the sourcing and distribution of the food items.
He stated that the originating memorandum on the project was submitted by NEMA on June 2, 2017, for presidential approval.
“All suppliers in EFINE were selected following due process with copies of all relevant documents in respect of the project made available to the House committee,” he said.
The head of media also explained that the evacuation of stranded Nigerians from Libya was a multi-agency operation undertaken jointly by all relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.
It listed other organizations involved as Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Intelligence Agency, Department of State Security, NAPTIP, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs (NCFRMI) and relevant state governments.
According to him, 2,130 Nigerians were evacuated in the operation.
Recall that the House of Representatives on Thursday received the report of its Committee on Emergency and Preparedness Response on the alleged violation of public trust against the agency.