More than 6,779 metric tons of rice that were donated by the Chinese Government to internally displaced person camps in Nigeria have been found to have rotted away at the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, warehouse.
Mustapha Maihaja, The Director-General of the auspices, has been under investigation for violating of public trust, financial improprieties and mishandling of relief materials from several donors.
Saharareporters reports that source in the agency disclosed that NEMA did not start clearance of rice for more than six months after the rice that was donated had entered Nigeria.
Hence, over 5000 bags of the rice, that was kept for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast region, had spoilt before the agency sent the tonnes of rice to the various camps in the region.
During the interrogation of the NEMA boss by the committee, it was disclosed that over 100 containers of rice are still to be cleared at the ports.
Already, the rice had cost taxpayers the total of N400 million as demurrage and additional N161 million expenditure on delivery and logistics.
The committee presided over by the Deputy Chairman, Ali Isa, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker from Gombe state, also queried NEMA for allege N3 billion rice contract awarded to Olam Nigeria Limited and Two Brothers without checking for tax clearance of the companies.
The NEMA boss, however, denied wrongdoing, saying the agency engaged the companies “under emergency as prescribed under Emergency Act”.
There has been power tussle between the house of reps’ committee and the leadership of the agency.
The committee, addressing pressmen on Tuesday, said it would not be blackmailed into backing out of the investigation into the alleged diversion of N23 billion funds approved for National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) under Maihaja.
The spokesperson of the Committee, Johnson Agbonayinma stated that:
“the attention of the House of Representatives has been drawn to reports in some national dailies, on the ongoing investigation by the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Management on the need to investigate alleged violation of public trust in NEMA.
“We also want to put it on record that as at today there is no petition from any staff of NEMA to the Committee or the House of Representatives.
“The issue of the suspended directors was mentioned by the Director General Egr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja himself during one of the Committee’s hearing when he introduced a new director of finance and we sought to know what happened to the former director and he admitted to suspending them.