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‘135, 500 bags of rice donated by China to IDPs intact’


NEMA Director-General Mustapha Maihaja

Bags of rice donated to the Federal Government by its Chinese counterpart are still intact, according to the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja He said the 135,500 bags of rice were worth N2.4billion with a little above N400million demurrage paid for clearance.

He said no bag of rice meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) was either missing or diverted at the ports. They are being kept in warehouses in Maiduguri and Yola pending the completion of the clearance of the huge volume at the ports in Lagos.

Maihaja said yesterday that although the clearance started in January, the delay was caused by the process of securing exemptions and waivers which the Federal Government was addressing.He made the clarifications at a session on the continuation of hearing on the operation of the agency by the Isa Ali-led House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

Maihaja said the delay in clearance of goods at the ports was not peculiar to NEMA.He said: The Federal Government has noted the inherent process in clearing goods and it is looking at eliminating the causative factors. As soon as the clearance is completed, the bags of rice will be offloaded and distributed to the IDPs.”

The representative of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Samuel Iloma, a deputy director, said being the recipient of the donation, the waiver certificates were processed for the consignment that came in five batches.He said: “We thought with the collection of the waiver, NEMA will just go and distribute but we got to understand later that the clearance is much more than that.

“That was why we approached a clearing firm about what’s involved to do the clearing and it was then we were told its going to involve money to get the neccesary documents.”

The committee, however, ruled that the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and her Budget and National Planning counterpart, Udo Udoma must appear before it.Also, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, and the Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS ), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), have also been invited by the lawmakers to explain their roles over the movement of the relief materia.

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IDPsMustapha Maihaja
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