APC chieftain faults Senate on alleged IDP funds theft

The Nigerian Senate

A chieftain of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Jibrilla, has described comments on the floor of the Senate last week on the management of projects under the Presidential Initiative on North East, PINE, as “misinformed and faulty”.

He said remarks passed by some senators on the matter were not based on empirical evidences but rather “formed by hasty attempt to rubbish some individuals”.

The Nigerian Senate had on Tuesday last week set up an ad hoc committee to investigate allegations of fraud in the handling of the finances released to IDPs.

Speaking to journalists at the weekend, Mr. Jibrilla, who was a gubernatorial aspirant in Adamawa State under the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, urged the Senate to rise against sentiments and resist attempts to use it to settle personal scores.

“The whole motion on the Internally Displaced Persons and the PINE issue was on wrong premise. Facts and figures were distorted and unfortunately dished out to the public. It is an issue that is bound to touch sensibilities and emotions, which was the target,” he said.

“However, the Senate did not scratch beyond the dummy it was sold, it would have discovered the truth. From my independent findings, I can say that there is no truth in the claim that there were bogus contracts or misplaced priorities,” he said.

He also said all records of food supply and disbursements are with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, which also work with emergency agencies in the affected states.

“Rehabilitations of schools and police stations, for example, were carried as a first step in resettling IDPs. IDPs are not meant to remain in temporary camps forever. And for them to resettle, there should be presence of civil authorities in those areas and schools for their children to attend,” he said.

Mr. Jibrilla said the cost of the rehabilitations, which emanated from the Senate was “totally exaggerated”. He added that the N80 million said to have been paid to JMT Global Limited for rehabilitation of a police station was actually meant for reconstruction of seven police stations in Adamawa state.

“I took time to do my findings at PINE office, which the Senate ought to do initially. Some of these contracts, like the 20 police stations rehabilitated and those newly constructed in places like Song, Hong and Madagali cost much cheaper to the government compared to other projects executed by the same administration, like the 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom flats being done by the Ministry of Housing.

“If you take the so-called grass cutting contract in Yobe state. The way it was painted was just mischievous. This was a actually a dredging and irrigation project complete with boreholes, to help farmers relocating to communities in Yobe. Also over 50 boats are being supplied to the communities as part of the contract,” he added.

The APC chieftain advised the Senate to visit all locations of the contracts executed along with independent valuers to evaluate with work done and compare with the costs.