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House of Rep orders recall of suspended NEMA Directors

The House of the Representatives has ordered an immediate recall of directors of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) suspended by the Governing Council of the agency on a purported recommendation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Members of a rescue team gathering personal belongings from victims of a Dana Air plane crash, which occurred on June 4th, at the site of the crash in the densely populated Toyin Area of Iju Ishaga in Lagos. Nigerian aviation authorities have suspended Dana Air’s licence after a flight operated by the commercial passenger carrier crashed in Lagos, killing at least 159 people, a spokesman said on June 5. AFP PHOTO

The affected officers that were recalled are Director of Finance and Accounts, Akinbola Gbolahan; Ag. Director, Special Duties, Mr. Umesi Emenike; and Director, Risk Reduction, Mallam Alhassan Nuhu. Others are pilot in charge of Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit, Mr. Mamman Ali Ibrahim; the Chief Maintenance Officer, Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji; and the Director of Welfare, Mr. Kanar Mohammed.

The House while ordering that the official be immediately reinstated back to their former offices held that Civil Service Rule was grossly abused, and natural justice turned upside down in the ways and manners the directors were placed on suspension.

Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Hon. Ali Isa gave the order in Abuja during the continuation of an investigative hearing on breach of public trust brought against NEMA and its Director, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja.

Apparently angered by the questionable way the directors were suspended by NEMA Governing Council on April 3, 2018 the same day the council was inaugurated, the House Committee agreed that the affected officers have been denied fair hearing as required by law before they were sent out of their offices.

An indication that the suspension was against the law emerged when the NEMA boss his evidence claimed that the directors were ordered to go on suspension via a report from the EFCC said to have been investigating the officers.

However, when confronted to make the report of EFCC available to the Committee, Maihaja shocked the committee when he admitted that there was no written report from the anti-graft agency to back up his claim.

When also confronted with a memo, he authored and made available to the governing council of the agency, recommending the suspension of the directors, Maihaja said that he did so pursuant to EFCC report which he said was confidential and cannot be made available to the House Committee for whatever reasons.

In the bid to fault the NEMA boss of his claims, the Chairman drew the attention of the NEMA DG to Section 88-89 of the 1999 Constitution which made it compulsory for all agencies of the government to make available all necessary evidence oral or written to the Senate and the House of Representatives during such hearings.

Apart from ordering reinstatement of the directors with immediate effect the House Committee also ordered that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo who is Chairman of NEMA Governing Council and Ibrahim Magu of EFCC whose commission was alleged to have made the purported recommendation to appear before the committee at the next hearing date to shed light on the claims made against them by the NEMA DG on the suspension.

Earlier the directors who were produced before the committee by Maihaja on the order of the lawmakers had one after the other in their evidence alleged that they were victimised, intimidate, harassed and ordered to go on suspension by the DG when they refuse to go along with him in perpetuating corrupt practices, breach of civil service rules and maladministration in NEMA especially in the appointment of a secret three-man committee that will be responsible for payment of all contract by the agencies. They also claimed that the DG transferred all staff in Account Department out of their offices to other departments and zones in order to pave way for his secret committee to operate without any challenge.


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