NEMA DG Denies Embezzling N33bn

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Mustapha Maihaja

Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

The embattled Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, wednesday in Abuja, condemned what he called “false allegations” levelled against him by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness on November 8, 2018.

He denied embezzling the sum of N33 billion as alleged by the House, adding that at no point also was he queried by the Office of the Vice-president for any misgivings.

Maihaja told journalists yesterday that “As you are aware, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is an agency charged with the responsibility of Disaster Management in Nigeria and coordination of responses to emergencies.

“Disasters either natural or man-made, always have adverse consequences to the people in the impacted areas. Disasters or emergencies can be in form of famine, flooding, fires, draught, epidemic, earthquake etc which often result to displacements of people, as well as massive repatriation of stranded Nigerians from other countries.”

He explained that the responsibilities as provided in the NEMA’s enabling Act, is to respond to disasters in a more effective, efficient and transparent manner

“Therefore, to insinuate this sacred duty of saving lives and provision of livelihoods was abused is a very difficult pill to swallow, not only for me, but for many members of my team as well as our partner agencies such as the military, police and international humanitarian agencies.”

He stated that to provide context on the funding of North East humanitarian response, the budget of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) for the period January to April 2017 was $1.05 billion.

“The sum of $590 million was for food and nutrition. As at April 2017, only the sum of $94.8 million was provided by the donors. See the Report of UN-OCHA on the Nigerian Humanitarian Dashboard published on May 23, 2017.

“This meant that we had a shortfall of $495.8 Million in food funding.

“For the period May to October 2018, when the Federal Government Emergency Food Intervention for the North East was being implemented, the World Food Programme net-funding requirement was $230 million.”

The NEMA boss, said: “Just to re-emphasise, we are not here to come up with excuses, this public response is an obligation as a government to adequately inform Nigerians of what truly happened. The confidence Nigerians have on NEMA and its capability to respond in their most difficult time of need cannot be tarnished. Nigerians need to be rest assured that NEMA is, was and will always remain “for the distressed”.

Maihaja while giving details of the donated rice by the Peoples’ Republic of China, hinted that, The Peoples’ Republic of China, as a gesture of its brotherly relations with the Federal Republic of Nigeria donated 6,779 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria as part of its support to the North East humanitarian efforts.

“This is equivalent to 135,550 units of 50kg bags of rice. In total, 271 containers, arrived at Apapa Port from China in five shipments between June and October 2017,” he explained.