Senate investigates alleged diversion of IDPs relief materials

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

The Nigerian Senate says plans are underway to launch a full investigation of the alleged diversion of relief material meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the North East.

The National Emergency Management Agency and other agencies entrusted with the responsibility of providing the materials have been listed for investigation.

The President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who gave the indication in Ilorin, said the report reaching the upper chamber of the National Assembly fingered some officials of the agencies of crossing the nation’s borders with relief materials.

He said the senate, would upon resumption from its recess, summon the affected agencies to explain the rationale behind the alleged diversion of materials.

Describing the action as a serious infraction that must be treated as such, the senate president vowed that anyone found culpable in the gross violation would be severely sanctioned.

Doctor Saraki also pledged that the senate under his leadership would not shield any public official indicted for corrupt practices no matter how highly placed.

On the war against the insurgents, the senate president said the military operation was largely successful, pointing out that the counter-terrorism operation was only required to clear the remnants of the insurgent’s hotbed.

He gave assurance that the reconstruction of the affected areas in the Northeast would begin as soon as the operation was concluded.

 “The military operation being carried out in the Northeast has recorded a major breakthrough. What is required now is to clear the remaining places like Sambisa where the insurgents are still present. We are worried by the reported cases of diversion of foods and other relief materials meant for IDPs camps,” the Senate President added.

“After the ongoing operation, the reconstruction would start. I want to believe that the diversion of IDPs foods must be treated seriously. Those involved would be invited. It is a serious offence and must be treated as such. NEMA and others found to be involved in the operation would be invited to explain why the relief materials are crossing borders.

In another development, the senate has attributed the delay in the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill to renewed hostility by Niger delta avengers.

The president of the senate said the bill would have scaled second reading at the floor of the upper arm of the legislature but for the militancy.

Senator Saraki, however, called on the government to employ all available options to bring the nefarious activities of the militia to a halt, saying the loss incurred by the government since the onslaught began, was unimaginable.