The Senate will today, Tuesday, discuss the humanitarian crisis in the North-eastern states, particularly the allegation of diversion of released funds.

Senator Bashir Babakaka Gabai

Senator Bashir Babakaka Gabai

This is in view of recent reports that 4.5 million people are in dire need of assistance and that over one million people are in danger of extreme malnutrition.

In a motion sponsored by Senator Bashir Babakaka Gabai from Borno Central District, the Senate is to consider information that about two million people could not be reached by aids and that they were at risk of starvation in the zone, while Western diplomats believe government’s response remains a ” disgrace”.

The sponsor of the motion expressed concern that though “on the 17th of November 2015, the Senate in recognition of the dire situation in the North East by its resolution raised the amount proposed by the executive in the budget for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from six billion naira to ten billion naira ”¦.and the Presidential initiative on the North East .. was inaugurated by President Buhari a year ago to manage the crisis”, the measures are “yet to show tangible result on ground, with over half of the money appropriated already released.

Senator Gabai alleged that “rather than use the money appropriated for the IDPs and the North east to ameliorate the problems, the focus of the disbursement so far made had been used to feather other interest”.

He cited examples of wastage and diversion of the money meant for the welfare of the people as including “award of N80.7 million to JMT Global Technologies Ltd for rehabilitation of Police Station in Kwambir, N203.357m 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”.

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He, therefore, called on the Senate to constitute an Adhoc Committee to ascertain how much had been released to the Presidential initiative on the North East and how the funds had been utilized from inception to date.

The Senate is also being asked to investigate the diversion of grains and other food items from the strategic grains reserves, NEMA and other sources.

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