House of Representatives committee investigating alleged diversion of
funds and materials meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS),
especially the alleged use of N270m just to clear grass by the office of
the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) said it was being
frustrated by the refusal of the SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal to appear before
The ittee particularly decried the failure of Secretary to Government of
the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, to honour summon to him to appear
and clarify some issues on the allegations.
on IDPs and the North-East Initiatives, mandated by the house to
investigate the allegation had invited Lawal to explain how his office
spent about N12 billion allocated for the IDPs’ challenges.
The committee is also investigating the expenditure of N270 million by the
Presidential Initiative on the North-East (PINE) “on just clearing of
grass’’. Also being probed by house committee is the purported allocation
of N188.69 million for Nigerian refugees living in Minawao, Republic of
“He did not write to intimate us on why his office would not come to
explain why issues of internally displaced persons have remained
un-encouraging, in spite of the billions of naira claimed to have been
“The PINE officials said he’s at the villa.
But, as the secretary to the government under whose office the
rehabilitation of the North-East was placed, we had expected him to come
to throw light on the financial expenses made by his office.
“We also expected him to explain the implementation framework being used
to spend money.
“We have been inundated by reports of diversion of materials and funds
meant for the rehabilitation of the IDPs, and the North-East and the
scandal had led to international embarrassment for the country.
“Given the issues of credibility and integrity raised against the agency
in charge of the North-East Initiative (PiNE) which falls under the SGF
office, we had expected him to respect the invitation.”
However, testifying before the committee members, Executive Secretary in
charge of the Presidential Initiative, Mr Umar Gulani, said that N270
million was awarded as contract.
He said the contract was for the removal of 250 kilometres of “invasive
plant species along river channels and simplified village irrigation
scheme (phase II) in Komadugu Basin in Yobe’’.
In reaction, Zorro expressed dissatisfaction with the explanation, saying,
“we are of the opinion that the expenditure of the magnitude you have
made is not justified.
“It’s not acceptable that you would spend such a huge amount of money on
the clearing of weeds while 2.5 million internally displaced victims of
terror go hungry. “They have no shelter and medical care.”
The committee, therefore, demanded further details from PINE, to be
submitted to it without delay.