Probe of alleged diversion of relief materials begins in Edo
The alleged diversion of over 4,781 bags of rice and other relief materials meant for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Edo State appears to be causing restiveness in government circles.
This is coming as the state Police command commenced investigation into the matter, vowing to prosecute those behind the rice scandal rocking the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government in the last couple of weeks.
The Guardian learnt that some senior government officials may not be spared as unconfirmed reports say that some senior government officials attached to the Chief of Staff’s office are on the list of persons to be interrogated over the diversion of the items.
Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had raised the alarm that over 4, 781 bags of rice, out of 6,822 bags approved for the IDPs camp in Uhogwa, Ovia North East Local Council were allegedly diverted.
State Chairman of the party, Dan Orbih, had insisted that the Obaseki-led administration should account for the missing 4, 781 bags of rice the Federal Government delivered to the state government.
Orbih made the revelation while receiving defectors from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and members of the Freedom Foundation Movement (FFM) into the state PDP.
Reacting to the allegations, Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said the state government distributed all the bags of rice and other items, which included used shoes.
He confirmed that apart from the rice that damaged in storage before they were allocated, the others were distributed to the IDPs and other orphanage homes in the state.
Osagie said PDP’s allegation of diversion of rice was completely false.
But the management of the IDPs confirmed that they received only 2,101 bags of rice instead of 6,822 bags as directed by the Federal Government through the office of the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
However, the Edo State Government in its effort to cover up the alleged misdeeds, which was done on discretion rather than on the presidential directive relied on weak argument to convince Edo people of sharing the items to some orphanages despite the presidential directive, which specified distributing the rice to IDPs.
Osagie said: “Out of the 6,821 bags of rice, the Edo State Government received 4639 bags of rice, while 2,182 bags were unfit for consumption and were, therefore not collected.
He added that the figures could be verified from the Customs and the Nigerian Army that witnessed the receipt of the items.
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