Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday charged Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to come clean on the N5.8 billion National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) scandal for which he was reportedly fingered by an investigative committee of the House of Representatives.
The party also charged the Muhammadu Buhari presidency to immediately prosecute the sacked Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, who was also indicted by the House of Representatives over alleged embezzlement of N33 billion in the agency.
According to PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, “The party stands with Nigerians in rejecting this unpardonable pat in the wrist of allowing Maihaja to leave office without investigation and prosecution in order to recover the allegedly embezzled fund.
“Our party believes that the failure to prosecute the indicted former NEMA director general is a ploy to shield top officials in the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration, who are alleged to be involved in the series of scam in NEMA, while the masses, for whom the fund was meant to serve, continue to suffer neglect and untold hardships.”
The PDP insisted that the sacking of Maihaja should not be used as an excuse to foreclose an investigation into the huge fraud in NEMA under Osinbajo’s watch as chairman of Governing Board of the agency.
The party described the sleaze in NEMA as an indelible smear on the Buhari presidency, and charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately take in Maihaja for questioning, and if found wanting, prosecute him.
It noted that the vice president had failed to provide cogent response to the report of the House of Representatives on the N33 billion NEMA fraud in addition to allegations that the N5.8 billion was withdrawn from the national coffers, while he was acting president, without legislative consent and recourse to extant due process, procurement and contract rules.
The PDP recalled that the House of Representatives had exposed that while the fund was claimed to have been expended for procurement of grains under the emergency intervention on food security in the North-east region, none of the six states of the region received any grain from the so-called emergency intervention by NEMA.
The House had also exposed that there was no evidence that the World Food Programme (WFP) received the 5,000 metric tons of rice, which NEMA claimed to have bought and donated to WFP for distribution to victims of insurgency in the region.
According to the PDP, “Indeed, the failure of the Buhari presidency to prosecute Maihaja despite his indictment by the House had raised serious issues of alleged complicity in high places, for which Nigerians expect Osinbajo, as the chairman of the Governing Board of the agency, should come clean.
“It is even more saddening that the looted fund is part of the money set aside for emergency response such as provision of palliatives and other essentials for the poor masses to mitigate the hardships that would be occasioned by emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The PDP also charged the EFCC to use the report of the House of Representatives as a working document to immediately invite Maihaja for questioning on the stolen funds as well as further expose top officials of government allegedly involved in the huge fraud in NEMA