…Pictures of expired rice in NEMA warehouse emerge
Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
The Speaker Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Wednesday released pictures of expired rice donated by the Chinese government to the National Emergency Management Agency for onward distribution to internally displaced persons in Nigeria.
The release of the pictures, which are meant to serve as evidence of the wanton wastages of resources and misappropriation of funds by NEMA, comes barely 24 hours after the House of Representatives Committee probing the misappropriation of N33 billion by the agency and the controversial approval of N5.8 billion for the agency by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
It also coincided with the claim by the Committee that Osinbajo may have a case to answer over the controversial approval and disbursement of such a huge amount, which did not receive any input from the National Assembly and actively contravened extant fiscal laws.
The pictures, which show hundreds of bags of rice stacked in an unnamed location, were released by the Special Adviser on Media to Dogara, Turaki Hassan to the media on Wednesday morning.
Hassan said, “Further to the discovery of wastages and breach of public trust by the National Emergency Management Agency, please find the above pictures of the rice wasting away in a warehouse.
“The rice, which the NEMA refused to distribute to the IDPs in Adamawa and Taraba states, was donated by the Chinese Government in aid of the displaced people.
“As a result of the action of the NEMA, the rice has expired and unfit for human consumption,” Hassan concluded in the mail dispatched to Vanguard.
There has been a running battle between the lawmakers on one hand and the vice president and NEMA and his embattled Director General, Mustapha Maihaji over the alleged approval and release of the huge sum of money without concrete evidence it was ever used to procure anything for the IDPs.
The House of Representatives has also called for the retrieval of N800 million, which NEMA claimed it spent on demurrage on the expired rice, which was valued at N414 million by the Chinese government but it is not clear if the ICPC and the EFCC would be keen on taking the agency up.
The lawmakers have also called for Maihaji’s ouster, having been accused of paying N1.6 billion for non-existing contracts, which are now causing rippled in NEMA.
The lawmakers are miffed because they feel that Maihaji who they had since recommended for removal, is being unduly protected by the Vice President and the Presidency, which had since fallen out with the leadership of the National Assembly.