The House of Representatives explains why lawmaker are investigating NEMA boss, Mustapha Maihaja
The investigation was sequel to a motion moved by Benue lawmaker, Benjamin Wayo, which was subsequently referred to an ad hoc committee to report back in four weeks.
The agency, led by the Director-General, Mustapha Maihaja, had appeared before the committee, when it defended the allegations of fraud, involving award of contracts to ‘unknown’ companies and non-distribution of relief materials to some states.
Maihaja told the committee that the controversial N1.5 billion ‘suspicious contracts’ were awarded in the agency by the former DG, Sani Sidi, before his assumption of duty.
Reacting to questions from journalists as to why the former DG, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, and directors who were recently suspended were not summoned, chairman of the committee, Ali Isa said he had not received any petition in that regard.
"We are not aware of anything concerning the former DG,” Isa said. “I have not received any petition concerning that. As far as I’m concerned, the committee’s assignment that was given, was the investigations the House mandated that we should conduct from January 2017 to date, in a motion that was referred to the committee and there are specifications and referrer to that motion", he added.
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Isa noted that Yobe had alleged that the state had not received relief materials from NEMA adding that more states from the North East would appear on Tuesday.
Ali denied rumours in some quarters that the probe was due to the interest of the House leadership in NEMA.
"We have no other interest. We have no business with any agency that wants to investigate anyone. During our investigations, nobody, including the DG mentioned the former DG that would warrant his invitation.
"Well, the investigation is still ongoing and we are not foreclosing that we will not invite him. Anybody that is named, if the committee could send invitations to higher officers, then there is nobody that cannot be invited. We rely on section 89 of the constitution that empowers us to invite anybody to appear before the committee," he noted.
Hearing continues Tuesday, April 24, 2018, when states that have served as host communities to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East are expected to appear before the committee.
The House of Representatives has summoned the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu; and the Head of Service, Winifred Oyo-Ita over the suspension of some directors in NEMA.
Those suspended include the Director of Finance and Accounts, Akinbola Gbolahan; Acting. Director, Special Duties, Umesi Emenike and Director, Risk Reduction, Mallam Alhassan Nuhu.
Others are pilot in charge of Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit, Mamman Ali Ibrahim; Chief Maintenance Officer Ganiyu Yunusa Deji and the Director of Welfare, Kanar Mohammed.