Senate probes diversion of N5bn IDP fund

· To donate N32 m to IDPs

The Senate, on Tuesday, resolved to probe the alleged diversion of over N5 billion meant for the management of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The senators resolved to raise an ad hoc committee to probe what was called incessant diversion of funds allocated to the IDPs by the Federal Government.

The resolutions were taken, following the adoption of a motion by Senator Baba Kaka Garbai (APC Borno Central), who alerted the Senate to the claim that some individuals and groups had been denying the IDPs of the benefits of funds allocated to them by the Federal Government.

He said such persons fraudulently collected N1.2 billion from the Federal Government for the supply of needed items to the IDPs only to end up diverting the money or fraudulently reselling the items purchased to the people.

The senators also resolved to donate the sum of N300,000 each to aid the IDPs, amounting to N32 million. Only 105 senators are currently on the floor.

The lawmakers decried the plight of the IDPs, which had reportedly left some 150 children at the throes of death daily.

It resolved to also conduct a public hearing to investigate the alleged diversion of grains and other food items from strategic grain reserves, by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and others.

While commending the United Nations, the senators also resolved to contribute N300,000 each for the well-being of the IDPs .

The lawmakers also tasked the Committee on Health to investigate the Health Ministry over its perceived indifference to the health conditions of the IDPs.

He said: “the removal of invasive plant species and irrigation project in Komadugu, Yobe water channels” as the senators further wondered what removal of plant species from water had to do with the plights of the IDPs.

He also stated that the payment of N117,000 million paid to Lintex International and another N108,000 million to Dantex Nigeria Limited for the supply of temporary shelters in April, are far cries from the true values of the products.

He sated that the value of shelters found in the camps was did not exceed N4 million.

The senator recalled that a recent UNICEF report indicated that 4.5 million persons were in dire need of assistance in the North-East, out of which, he said, one million had their lives endangered by malnutrition.

He added: “The Senate is bothered that such projects as the award of N80.7 million to JMT Global Technologies Ltd for rehabilitation of police station in Kwambir, N203.357 million to another company, JOSMAN Technologies Limited, for removal of invasive plant species along river channels and another N117 million paid to Lintex International for supply of temporary shelters with no record of these shelters anywhere.

“The Senate is further disturbed that the rather incoherent and largely fragmented state of the procurement process so far points to a vague and corrupt scheme that is not in tune with helping our people in the North-East out of their present harrowing experiences and misery.”

In his contribution Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, said a foreign agency recently lamented that the worst humanitarian crisis ever witnessed in the world might be the current situation in the North-East.

While rounding off the debate, Senate President Bukola Saraki described the situation as nothing but insensitivity on the part of those diverting IDP funds to the plight of the IDPs.

He, therefore, announced the composition of a nine-man committee to probe the menace and report findings to the Senate within two weeks.

The committee, headed by Senator Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central), is to organise public hearing in the course of its assignment.