A coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations in Gombe State has strongly come out against the diversion of relief materials meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the State worth hundreds of millions of naira by the Executive Secretary of the Gombe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).
In a release signed and made available to newsmen in Gombe, its chairman, Ibrahim Yusuf of the Wildan Care Foundation, said the association unanimously and vehemently condemns the diversion of the materials provided by the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI) worth Hundreds of Millions of Naira by the SEMA boss, Dr. Danlami Arabs Rukujei.
The release reads: “Our thorough investigations have proven and confirmed the heartless, merciless, greedy and condemnable act by the Executive Secretary of Gombe State Emergency Management Agency Dr.Danlami Arabs Rukuje, and his lieutenant staff”.
According to the release, “Recently, trucks loads of assorted building materials worth millions of Naira meant for the teaming IDPs confirmed to be supplied by the PCNI were located at various shops and commercial stores by the EFCC officials in Gombe metropolis, and it has been confirmed that the materials were diverted for personal gains of the State SEMA Executive Secretary, Dr. Danlami Arabs Rukuje, who has already been charged and remanded by the officials and further investigation are ongoing”.
The association said it affirmed its stand and supports the fight against corruption being championed by the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) saying, “We are committed to using our resource base of network, information, and the people to support the EFCC to fight corruption in all its facets and manifestations. We stand for zero tolerance to corruption.”
However, the Executive Secretary had reacted to the allegation saying he sold some of the building materials (Paints and cement), to avoid colossal loss by Government after it had stayed in their warehouse for over six months and that the timber that came along with the other materials had already gone bad. He added that the sale was done with the deliberate intention to return the goods when they were needed.
In his words, “you can’t bring things for me in April and by July; you can’t say a word about it, I don’t think that is responsible. I didn’t get a reply, so I had to take a decision on what to do. My safest option, and that’s what a lot of Nigerians do, will be to close my eyes, allow the cement to block, the paints to spoil and nobody will ask me, its government property”.
He explained further that that is the trend in the country which he didn’t follow but added that, “you saw the timber in NEMA, nobody asked how manage it got spoilt. But then I ask myself, as a Nigerian, I’m above 50 now, if it were my property or my friend’s property kept with me, what line of action would I take? Would I allow it to go bad or take steps to make sure that it is not lost”?
He said this informed his decision to unilaterally sell it at the open market.