By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Management has frowned at the inability of the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja to account for the N1.6 billion released by the federal government for Libya returnees.
Maihaja had yesterday appeared before the committee to defend the budget with the management of NEMA, 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.
The money was meant to resettle Nigerian illegal immigrants who were recently repatriated to the country.
Vice Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Ali Isah (PDP, Gombe), who chaired the budget session expressed dismay that “documents submitted by the agency contradicted his (DG’s) explanations and he could not account for how about the money was expended”
According to the committee, the director general could not convince lawmakers on how about N8 billion from the service wide votes was utilized by the agency, adding that ecological funds were also not accounted for.
Members of the committee claimed that while there were documents showing that NEMA had received funds from the service wide votes, whereas the director general was denying that he has not received anything from the government.
Consequently, the committee directed the director general to reappear before it on Thursday (tomorrow) with all documents to back 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.