By Chioma Obinagwam
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s major opposition party, has asked the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, to come clean on the N5.8 billion National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) scandal for which he was reportedly fingered by an investigative committee of the House of Representatives.
Confiance News gathered from a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, Tuesday on Twitter.
The party also charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately commence the prosecution of the sacked Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, who was also indicted by the House of Representatives over alleged embezzlement of N33 billion in the agency.
The party, in a statement, signed by its spokesman, on Monday, said it stood with Nigerians in rejecting the unpardonable pat in the wrist of allowing Maihaja to leave office without investigation and prosecution to recover the allegedly embezzled fund.
“Our party believes that the failure to prosecute the indicted former NEMA Director General as a ploy to shield very top officials in the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration, who are alleged to be involved in the series of scam in NEMA, while the masses, for whom the fund was meant to serve, continue to suffer neglect and untold hardships.
“The PDP insists that the sacking of Engr. Maihaja should not be used as an excuse to foreclose an investigation into the huge fraud in NEMA under Vice President Osinbajo as Chairman of Governing Board.
“The party describes the sleaze in NEMA as an indelible smear on the Buhari Presidency and charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately take in Engr. Maihaja for questioning and if found wanting, prosecution.
“The party notes that the Vice President had failed to provide cogent response to the report of the House of Representatives on the N33 billion NEMA fraud in addition to allegations that the N5.8 billion was withdrawn from the national coffers, while he was acting President, without legislative consent and expended without recourse to extant due process, procurement and contract rules,” the party said.
“Recalling that the House had exposed that while the fund was claimed to have been expended for procurement of grains under the emergency intervention on food security in the North East, none of the six states of the Northeast received any grain from the so called emergency intervention by NEMA and that there was no evidence that the World Food Programme (WFP) received the 5,000 metric tons of rice, which NEMA claimed to have bought and donated to WFP for distribution to victims of insurgency in the region.
They added: “Indeed, the failure of the Buhari Presidency to prosecute Engr. Maihaja, despite his indictment by the House of Representatives, had raised serious issues of alleged complicity in high places, for which Nigerians expect Prof. Osinbajo, as Chairman of Governing Board of the agency, to come clean.
“It is even more saddening that the looted fund is part of the money set aside for emergency response such as provision of palliatives and other essentials for the poor masses to mitigate the hardships that would be occasioned by emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The PDP therefore charges the EFCC to use the report of the House of Representatives as a working document and immediately invite Engr. Maihaja for questioning on the stolen funds as well as further expose top officials of the Buhari administration allegedly involved in the huge fraud in NEMA.”