The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has countered the claims of violation of public trust against it by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.
The committee had accused the agency of abuse of public fund and, also, indicted Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of illegally approving N5.8 billion for NEMA.
The lawmakers also recommended the dismissal of the Director General, Mustapha Maijaha.
But, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sani Datti, yesterday, NEMA said the findings by the committee did not reflect facts placed before it. It said the committee was only economical with the truth.
The statement read: “The House of Representatives, at its plenary on November 8, 2018, received the report of the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, on the alleged violation of public trust against the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“The agency was astonished to hear some of the findings and conclusions presented by the Committee on the issues, which did not reflect the facts and documents placed before it by NEMA.
“While the agency will in due course, make a more comprehensive response to all the allegation made, it is, therefore, most important to make the following clarification: Port Clearance and Transportation of Emergency Food Assistance by Chinese Government; the Federal Government received a total of 6,779MT of Rice for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East as donation by the Chinese Government. This amounted to 271 containers, which arrived Apapa Ports between June and October 2017.”
NEMA put the total value of the rice at N2.25 billion (50.5 million Chinese Yuan) and said the amount spent on demurrage and storage was about N450 million and not N800 million as alleged by the committee.
The agency said the processes of obtaining duty exemption, waivers and other related issues took several months, but the total quantity was subsequently cleared from the Apapa Port, transported and delivered to its warehouses in the North East.
“It was, thereafter, distributed to the IDPs, though some quantities are still available in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states. Relevant documents on the transaction were made available to the committee during the public hearing.
“The suspension of six (6) NEMA officers: This was a decision of the Governing Council of NEMA, based on an interim report by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which indicted them for financial misappropriation.
“This suspension was in line with extant guidelines on appointment, promotion and discipline as contained in the Public Service Rules.
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“The approval of N1.6 billion granted by the Federal Government for the procurement and delivery of relief items to 16 States affected by flood in 2017 followed due process.
“The federal government Emergency Food Intervention in the North East, (EFINE), was a project implemented by a Presidential Committee, comprising of relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs), in response to the threat of hunger and starvation in the North East, as reported by the agencies of government on the ground, which was corroborated by the United Nations World Food Programme, in April 2017.”
NEMA said all approvals were sought 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.
It said the originating memorandum on the project was submitted on June 2, 2017 for Presidential approval.
“The National Security (Food) was threatened, emergency response became inevitable and therefore, all suppliers in EFINE were appropriately selected. Copies of relevant documents, in respect of the project were made available to the House Committee,” NEMA insisted.