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CHRICED Commends, President Buhari, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Over Sack of NEMA Chief, Mustapha Maihaja

The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) commends President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hon. Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq for acting decisively to reposition the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with the recent removal of the corruption-tainted Mustapha Maihaja as Director-General. By moving to make this critical leadership change at the agency, the government has shown that it heard the loud cries of vulnerable citizens. They were left stranded because NEMA as an essential institution in the COVID-19 palliatives distribution process failed to demonstrate competence, inclusiveness and transparency in carrying out the exercise.

It is pertinent to note that worried by the cries of many helpless citizens who reached out to us to narrate how they never got palliative items, which were released for distribution by the Federal Government, CHRICED on April 10, 2020, petitioned the Honourable Minister to call her attention to the anomaly. CHRICED also drew attention to the litany of controversies, which had dogged the palliatives distribution in some states, and called on the Minister, being the supervisor of NEMA to overhaul and reposition the agency quickly. In the said petition, CHRICED condemned the NEMA’s dismal approach to the palliative process and its lack of accountability and transparency in the implementation of the government’s emergency response to cushion the effects of the pandemic on the most affected citizens of our country.

We also made it clear that NEMA’s unbelievable incompetence and unbridled corruption have been directly responsible for the problems, which have trailed the Federal Government’s emergency palliative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the petition, CHRICED wondered why the Federal Government had continued to retain the sacked DG, despite his indictment in 2018 by the Federal House of Representatives for solemn acts of unbridled corruption, subversion of existing procurement processes and maladministration of NEMA as an agency.

However, despite the long delay before the DG was axed, CHRICED commends the fact that the government eventually took action in line with the need to reposition the agency. It is now time for the newly appointed Director-General, Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Muhammadu Alhaji Muhammed to clean up the mess in NEMA. The new DG’s immediate task would be to urgently design an effective mechanism to ensure inclusive, participatory and transparent processes in redirecting the agency’s response to the needs of vulnerable citizens severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and other emergencies.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi

Executive Director

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