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Senator Ita-Giwa alleges diversion of relief materials for Bakassi refugees



•Agency disagrees, insists goods delivered
•Air Force urges patience over ‘mistaken’ droning report

Relief materials sent by the Federal Government for refugees in Ata Ema, Dayspring Island, Bakassi Local Council of Cross River State have allegedly been diverted to private homes in Calabar, the capital. The succour reportedly came to the inmates who may still have been brooding over the inferno that befell their shanties in April this year.

Former presidential adviser, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, at a news conference in Calabar, submitted that the items meant for the refugees in her locality were eventually found in the homes of members of the ruling party in the state.

Sources also claimed that the materials were distributed at the behest of the Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), John Inaku, who reportedly took receipt of the items from the National Refugee Commissioner.


Ita-Giwa said they got to know of the diverted relief materials through a tip-off. Her words: “We went there with the National Refugee Commission officers. We saw that the people were totally devastated. Their houses were burnt down. They were suffering…. and within two weeks of that visit to Dayspring, the National Refugee Commissioner intervened and sent things down to the people and we were all invited to SEMA, including the deputy governor, and there was a signage there that said that NRC had done this in response to what happened in Dayspring on the fire outbreak and got relief materials for the people of the riverine. But until now, those items were never delivered.

“I want Nigerians to know this. The relief materials were for the people in Ata Ema, whose houses were engulfed by fire. Then I started hearing rumours that they were seeing those things in timber market. That they are seeing the zincs being sold off. In fact, the information was given to us by a whistle blower who was supposed to be part of the transaction of selling of some of the items.”

But Inaku maintained that the materials were handed over to the Head of Administration of the local council for distribution.Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has asked Nigerians to be patient over the report of a committee set up to investigate some of its personnel over an accidental droning of a refugee camp in Borno State.

Its Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, made the appeal, insisting that the service had nothing to hide regarding the outcome, as the matter was weighty.

He said: “We are aware of the interests the matter has generated within and outside the country. A board of inquiry was set up to determine what happened, who are those involved, what led to the accident and how do we prevent a recurrence.


“We are pleading with Nigerians to be patient pending the outcome.”Adesanya continued:” And again, remember that the NAF for the past seven years has been involved in the campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast without any accident of such magnitude. I, for instance, have lost some of my students in Jaji, some of my course mates have died and even senior officers in the course of fighting and defending the country and the people.

“To us, it is traumatising, because the chance is 50/50 whenever you climb an aircraft, you never can tell maybe that will be your last outing, so it is traumatising to us when the people you set out to protect or defend become victims of your action, either by acts of commission or omission.

“So that is why we are saying that at this period, it will do us more good to be encouraged by our many victories and successes in the past seven years than judging us by our mistakes or shortcomings. Remember there is no human institution that is perfect, therefore the NAF cannot be an exception.”

In this article:
Florence Ita-Giwa
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