13 March 2018

Nigeria: Despite Denials By Edo Govt, PDP Insists Rice Meant for IDPs Were Diverted

The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State, Dan Orbih, is insisting that the state government diverted rice meant for internally displaced persons, IDPs, in the state.

The government denied the allegation.

Mr. Orbih was subsequently interrogated by the police on the matter after the government filed a petition against him.

Mr. Orbih told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday, that his party tendered documents before the police to show that over 4,000 bags of rice were diverted.

He said bringing in the police into the matter wasn't going to help the government in any way.

"This government cannot harass me," he said.

"How can they harass me for telling them that they stole rice? Have they denied that they did not steal rice? The records are there.

"It is not even about the quantity or the value of the rice; the import of their action is that they have committed a crime against humanity;

"For the government to take the rice from these people is equivalent of going to Mission Road in Benin City where you have beggars, and the arms given to those beggars because they cannot fight, they cannot run, they cannot say anything, you go there and take the arms given to them," he said.

The party chairman said he will continue to speak against the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki whenever they are not doing the right thing.

"I am saying Obaseki should apologise to the IDPs and the Edo people and make sure he buys the missing rice and present to them," he said.

But the Edo State government has, again, dismissed the claims by the PDP as being "completely wrong".

Crusoe Osagie, the media aide to Governor Obaseki, said he was surprised that Mr. Orbih was still insisting that bags of rice were diverted.

Mr. Osagie claimed the PDP chairman has been sending emissaries to beg the government not to press charges against him.

The governor's aide said, "Out of the total of 6,000 plus bags of rice allocated to Edo State, the total number of bags of rice received by the Edo State government was 4,640.

"Two thousand one hundred and eighty-two bags were bad, unfit for consumption and were not collected by the state government. These figures can be verified from the customs and the Nigerian Army who witnessed the process of receiving the items.

"On December 24, 2017, IDP camp in Uhogua received 500 bags of rice. Also on Christmas Eve, 50 sacks of used shoes were given to the IDPs in Uhogua.

"Two weeks ago, IDP camp Uhogua received another 2,101 bags of rice, which brings the total number of bags of rice received by the IDP camp in Uhogua to 2601.

"Displaced people in Edo Central, Edo North and orphanages received 1422 bags of rice. The remaining 617 bags are in the State government's warehouse. We also have about 35 sacks of used shoes in the store scheduled for distribution in the weeks ahead.

"It is necessary to reassure Edo people with facts that the Obaseki government does not possess the PDP's traits of banditry and insensitivity to the plight of ordinary people," Mr. Osagie said.

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