Osinbanjo, NEMA, N5.8bn And The IDP Intervention

Apart from the fact that Prof. Osinbajo is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the Vice President, as the whole world knows is a Professor of Law. So, if anybody should know what the constitution stipulates as the roles and powers of a VP, it would be him.

The House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness had in Nov 2018 invited the VP to clear the air as regards the N5.8 billion North East Intervention Fund which was disbursed to prevent the imminent catastrophe of famine that was already beginning to ravage IDP camps in the Northeastern states. The lawmakers had alleged mismanagement of the said funds by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

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One need not forget the fact that at the time, there were thousands of internally displaced persons nursing some ailments and even dying due to lack of food and water. The only way to solve the problem was for FG to intervene. With the president absent from the country, the Vice president acted in that capacity. As it was an emergency situation an urgent call was needed to be made to save those lives without any bureaucratic bottleneck. Of note was that at the time, the national budget was still in the national assembly waiting for passage even after several months of submission.

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The acting president summoned an emergency meeting with the NEMA boss, the companies that will supply the foods and other consumable items (WACOT ltd, BUA rice, Dangote group, Olam,Golden Agric input ltd and 3Brothers ltd), finance minister, the CBN Governor, the EFCC boss, office of the accountant general of the federation and the then Agric minister to brainstorm on how to save precious Nigerian lives.

The outcome of the meeting led to the situation whereby the funds were credited directly to the individual accounts of the companies for the commencement of the provision of emergency food intervention in the North-eastern IDPs camps across the states.

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Finally, The Presidency issued a public statement stipulating that the money approved for use in the dire emergency in his capacity as the Acting President, was sourced from the Rice Levy which had already been appropriated in that year’s budget.

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