Unic Press UK: Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has not contravened any provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the Procurement Act, says his Special Assistant for Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, during an interview Wednesday with the Channels TV, Nigeria.
“The vice president was the acting president when this matter happened. He had the full compliments of power to approve the fund meant for an emergency situation. . . the World Food Programme and some international food agencies came up with a report that says their own funding was declining and there was going to be a shortfall of about 85% in the food supply to about 1.8 million IDPs. So it was an impending food security challenge and we had to act fast and promptly. It was an emergency situation. Under the Public Procurement Act, there is a provision for such emergency spending. . . the vice president as the acting president had the authority to approve the money in that emergency circumstance, and clearly, within our laws,” he said during the TV programme.
Also on Twitter, Akande explains further via a series of tweets:
“Regarding some media reports claiming VP has questions to answer on the Emergency Food Intervention Fund for the Northeast, the main question is: did he as Acting President have powers to approve the Emergency fund? Answer is Yes. Ignore the distractions being generated by misleading reports and false stories, this Vice President is a well known stickler for the rule of law and he is a diligent advocate of constitutional order and good governance. Just watch him closely, the facts are easy to adjudge.”
Ignore the distractions being generated by misleading reports and false stories, this Vice President is a well known stickler for the rule of law and he is a diligent advocate of constitutional order and good governance. Just watch him closely, the facts are easy to adjudge
— Laolu Akande (@akandeoj) November 14, 2018
In a report – ‘Report Of Investigative Hearing On The Violation Of Public Trust In The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)’ – Ref No HR 52/2018, which was submitted by the House of Representatives Committee On Emergency And Disaster Preparedness, the Vice President Osinbajo was indicted, accused of acting illegally.
Excerpts of the Committee’s Report
“On the emergency intervention of food security to the North-East to support the population ravaged by insurgency, a sum of ₦5,865,671,939.26 was approved and released in June 2017 vide a memo raised from the Office of the Acting President, directing the Hon. Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation to so act. This is in contravention of approval of NASS on the issuance of Euro Bond from which the Hon. Minister authorized the payment. The Euro Bond is for specified infrastructural projects and not for discretionary intervention. Furthermore, there is no specific appropriation by the National Assembly.” (Clerk of the Committee, Sulyman Mohammed Sarkin-Noma)
Other observations/findings/recommendations by the Committee
- The Chinese government donated 6,779 metric tons of rice, yet no bag of rice has been delivered to any of the beneficiary 6 states in the North East region.
- NEMA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Budget and National Planning should account for the 6,779 Metric tons of Rice donated by the Chinese government in aid to Internally Displaced People of the North East region.
- Four private companies – Dangote Rice Ltd, WACOT Ltd, BUA Rice Ltd and Golden Agric Input Ltd – received ₦2 billion loan each through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); and this is not appropriate being that the CBN is government banker. This loan issue should be further investigated.
- With regard to the receipt and utilization of ₦1.6 billion for flood victims in 16 states, the ICPC and EFCC should recover the sum of ₦700 million from the Director-General of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja.
- The ICPC and EFCC should recover ₦1.15 billion from the present Director General of NEMA, Eng. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, who claims he donated same to World Food Programme (WFP) when they were ready to pay for it or import same.
- Due to negligence on the part of NEMA, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Budget and National Planning, the Ministry of Agriculture paid about ₦800 Million as a demurrage to APM terminal and Maersk Line for the 6,779 metric tons of rice donated by the Chinese government. The ICPC, EFCC and Police should recover the sum of ₦800 million.
- On its books, NEMA also claims to have paid ₦800 Million as a demurrage for the same consignment of the 6,779 metric tons of rice donated by the Chinese government, yet the agency could substantiate this claim via a proof of payment. The ICPC, EFCC and Police should recover the sum of ₦800 million.