MUSTAPHA Maihaja, the new Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has found himself at loggerheads with members of the House of Representatives over his alleged refusal to come and explain how he spent N13 billion in one month.
Consequently, the committee led by Jibrin Santumari (APC, Bornu) on Tuesday issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the director general to appear before it and provide detailed explanations as well as produce documents relating to all landed and movable assets of the agency.
The committee chairman, Santumari, expressed displeasure over the behaviour of the DG whom, he said, is taking the committee for a ride, having being sent three different letters of invitation.
“We have sent invitations demanding documents from NEMA and the director general has been summoned here to come and explain how he spent N13 billion in one month. He has refused to come, only for him to send a letter just an hour ago telling us that he has travelled to Maiduguri.
“The main issue we invited him for was to discuss the utilisation of the ecological fund, and how he spent N13 billion in one month. We are the National Assembly of Nigeria and we have the right to find out how things are done by these people.
“But instead of coming to answer us, they have been playing games using emergency as excuse even though our letters were sent ahead of time. And the director general must appear to tell us what we want to know”, he insisted.
The said letter by the director general was read to members by the clerk of the committee wherein the director general said he had to hurriedly go to Maiduguri to attend to some emergency situation which was brought to his attention.
However, according to the letters of invitation read by the clerk at the instance of members, it was the third time the director general, NEMA, and his management team have refused to honour invitations sent to them with respect to the issues raised.
Also, the committee requested 30 copies of documents relating to all landed and movable assets of the agency with which members are expected to undertake oversight visit to NEMA facilities across the states.
However, instead of furnishing the 30 copies on time, NEMA only sent one copy less than a week ago, according to the committee.
Bashir Babale (APC, Kano) in his opinion told his colleagues that MDAs have found a veritable tool in issues relating to insurgency in the North East to divert funds and underperform in their responsibilities.
“They are hiding under the banner of North East to undermine the National Assembly and Nigerians.
“We must invoke relevant sections of the constitution to once again summon the director general and give him a day not beyond this week to appear, and it must be unfailing”, Babale said.
At this point, the committee concurred with his view, asking the secretariat to send another letter summoning the director general to appear on Thursday or face arrest warrant as the committee would not hesitate to invoke its powers under section 88 and 89 of the constitution.
Maihaja assumed office as director general of NEMA in April, 2017 after his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari which saw him replacing the former boss, Sani Sidi.