By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately recover the over “N28 billion” meant for the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the northeast which has been allegedly “stolen by members of the Presidency cabal and certain Interests in his All Progressives Congress (APC).”
The party accused the presidency and the ruling APC of providing cover for those “who have been frittering away billions of naira donated for the well-being of victims of insurgency.”
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Sunday, said the President cannot in all honesty claim not to be aware of reported sharp practices, involving billions of naira in the management of funds in the Presidential Initiative on the North East, since the issues became public.
“The Presidency cannot, in any way imaginable, claim not to be aware of reports that sometime in August 2017, a cabinet minister and a high ranking Presidency official were alleged to have diverted N18 billion from the N48 billion approved by the National Assembly for the rehabilitation of millions of IDPs and rebuilding of six northeast states ravaged by insurgency in the 2017 budget.
“The APC and the Buhari Presidency cannot claim to be unaware of the damning report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which detailed how officials were using bulk of the resources meant for the IDPs on contracts that were found to have immensely benefitted officials of the APC government including the sacked Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.
“The Buhari Presidency and the APC cannot also claim to be unaware of the motion by Senator Baba Kaka Garba from Borno Central, who exposed how persons known to have connections with the APC, fraudulently cornered N1.2 billion from the federal government under the guise of supplying items to IDPs.
“Despite the open allegations, the Presidency has not taken any firm step towards an open investigation into the alleged involvement of a cabinet minister and top Presidency in the stealing of N18 billion IDP fund, not to talk about recovering the stolen funds,” the statement read in part.
The PDP also faulted Presidency’s response to the pain suffered by victims of insurgency noting, “All the IDPs had got (sic) from the APC and Buhari-led Presidency are excuses, false assurances, cosmetic condolence messages and crocodile tears, while the cronies and cabal who are frittering away their funds enjoy the protection of the government.
“Perhaps, this explains why Mr. President’s handlers, in all his visits to troubled states, has ensured that he had no direct interaction with the IDPs probably to avoid being directly taken to task on the stolen fund.
“It is clear to Nigerians that the APC government swims in corruption and concealment of sleaze, but stealing from the IDPs is what they least expected. That, for majority of Nigerians, is the worst form of man’s inhumanity to man,” it added.