20 February 2018

Nigeria: N1.6 Billion - Reps Quiz NEMA DG Over Libya Returnees' Fund

Abuja — The House of Representatives committee on emergency and disaster management yesterday demanded that the director general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mustapha Maihaja account for the N1.6 billion released by the federal government to resettle Libya returnees.

The committee picked holes in the budget performance of the agency and explained that though N1.6 billion was released for the purpose, only N1.8 million was utilized with the balance of over N1.42billion largely unaccounted for.

Vice chairman of the committee, Hon. Ali Isah J.C, at the budget session with the agency, frowned at the documents submitted by the agency which he said contradicted the DG's explanations who was unable to account for the money.

According to him, the NEMA boss could not convincingly defend how N8 billion from the service wide votes was utilized by the agency, adding that ecological funds were also not accounted for.

He noted that the documents showed that NEMA had received funds from the service wide votes, the director general denied that he did not receive anything from the government.

The committee thereafter, directed the head of the agency to reappear before it on Thursday with all documents backing up his claims.

"You are expected to come along with the 2018 budget proposal for the agency and details of how the 2017 appropriation was utilized. We will not condone misappropriation or misuse of government funds especially at this time when many Nigerians are suffering", Hon. Isah had ruled.

In his response, the director general told the committee that no money was misappropriated at the agency under his leadership insisting that they have documents covering all expenses undertaken by it. On the 2018 budget proposal, Maihaja explained that the letter inviting him to the interaction did not indicate whether he was to defend the budget and that informed why he could not furnish the committee with the proposal.


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