22 March 2018

Nigeria: NEMA DG - N10.3 Billion Allocated for Emergency Needs From January 2017 to Date

Abuja — The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, said about N10.322billion was allocated to emergency needs by the federal government from January 2017 to date.

He said he can only account for NEMA activities from April 2017 when he took over to date.

He insisted that NEMA secured the approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) before engaging in procurements.

He said the agency did not in any way abuse due process in the award of contracts for the nation's emergency needs.

He also said the agency was forced to approach the presidency for the procurement of emergency materials for the North-east because development partners withdrew 85 per cent of their funding support for the region.

He said contrary to allegations, NEMA cannot award any procurement contract worth more than N300 million.

He insisted that he has acted in good faith and with respect for accountability and transparency since he was made the DG in April 2017.

Maihaja made the clarifications at a public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness on alleged violation of public trust in NEMA.

He said: "We insist that due process be followed on procurement since my assumption of duties in April 2017 because different methods were used before then with serious resistance from within and outside. In fact, BPP's approval was also got before procurements.

"Today NEMA is one of the most investigated agencies but due process was followed in our procurements.

"On the 10,000 metric tonnes of rice, we complied with the Procurement Act, the agency sought Presidential approval for the procurement 10,000 metric tonnes of rice at N3.1billion for emergency purposes in the North-east.

"The approval was signed by the Vice President in a letter by the Deputy Chief of Staff. The contract was awarded to two companies as well as logistics companies for delivery. The contractors don't get paid until deliveries are confirmed by the recipient agencies.

"Also, the deliveries directly to NEMA are taken to our warehouses across the country and confirmed by our store officers before payments are made."

When questioned why the Director (Relief) had to sign contract award letters rather than a Procurement officer, Maihaja said the agency had no Procurement officer as at that time.

According to him, there was no Procurement Unit in the agency as at the time of his assumption of duty.

He said junior planning officers were performing the duties.

He added: "Junior Planning officers cannot sign the contract award and being an emergency situation, in all sincerity, the Director Relief was asked to sign the documents.

"We also have a comprehensive store system as well as other mechanisms for confirmation of delivery of relief materials.

"My action was done with utmost sincerity, there was no intention to sidetrack anyone in this responsibility. We have a store system and other units to take charge of materials, the Director Relief is not in charge of stores."

The DG said the sources of the agency's funding include Ecological Fund which was N10.3b in the period under review as well as from Appropriation Act.

He also made available to the committee list of the agency's accounts, list of companies with awarded contracts and the award letters, including list of donors and donations.

While declaring the hearing open, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said there were a number of disasters unattended to in the country over the period which was a shame.

Represented by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker said the intervention of the House was as a result of allegations of negligence from victims who complained of late and often inadequate arrival of relief materials.

The Deputy Chairman of the committee Ali Isa said the investigation was not meant to witch-hunt anyone but aimed at making the agency better in meeting its set objectives.

Nigeria

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