Refugees Commission Boss Releases Operational Vehicle to Maiduguri

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*Appoints deputy director procurement from within

*Releases withheld staff promotions

*Union petitions Minister, CoS to President, EFCC, ICPC, Human Rights Commission

It has been reliably gathered that less than 24 hours after a civil rights group, the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) addressed a press conference on Thursday where it highlighted alleged misgovernance, corruption, and executive excesses at the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, NCFMI, and called for the probe of the Honourable Federal Commissioner (HFC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission, Mrs. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, it has been reliably gathered that the HFC has ordered the release of the bullet proof Toyoto Landcruiser donated by the United Nations Human High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for the Commission’s operation in Maiduguri, Borno State.

It was also reliably gathered that the NCFMI boss has backed down on her insistence that the removed Director of Procurement hand over to an Assistant Director of Procurement she allegedly brought from the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) to replace the Assistant Director of Procurement she met on ground.

Also, long-withheld staff promotions were equally released on Thursday. The development now paved way for an internal staff of the Commission to assume the position of Deputy Director Procurement. The said staff now replaces the Director of Procurement earlier removed by the HFC in controversial circumstances.

It is recalled that HURIWA had at the press conference alleged: “Of particular interest is the Maiduguri office, which overseas the bulk of the IDPs, but does not have an operational vehicle. Although the United Nations Refugee High Commission (UNHCR) donated a Toyota Landcruiser as an operational vehicle to Maiduguri office, Mrs. Sulaiman-Ibrahim, has refused to release the vehicle to that office six months after resuming office.

“Allegations are rife that the HFC has no regard for procurement due process. We have it on good authority that the Federal Government has so far released the sum of N8 billion to the Refugees Commission, but refuses to disclose to the management the details of what monies are being are been spent on during Procurement Tenders Board meetings. She allegedly insists on anticipatory approvals and the Director, Legal, who questioned the legality of anticipatory approvals was removed.

“In other words, no member of mismanagement or staff of the Commission knows exactly what funds are spent on and how much except the DFA and the Legal Adviser she brought to the Commission”.

It is also alleged that the inflation of travel costs, among other alleged irregularities have become rife at the Commission.

“For insisting on due process, we understand that the Director of Procurement has been removed. Before that, the Assistant Director, of Procurement was redeployed to Planning and replaced with an Assistant Director imported from NAPTIP where the HFC was a DG. We equally gathered that the Director of Procurement refused to hand over to the Assistant Director insisted on handing over only to those staff of the Commission or person directed by the Bureau of Procurement”.

But the Commission’s Head of Press, Mr. Samson Ikemitang, denied all the allegations, describing them a “ridiculous” and “fake news”.

Ikemitang, said the “allegations are not true, baseless, and can best be described at the handiwork of mischief makers”.

“Even a kindergarten will find it difficult to believe the allegation. This is utterly unthinkable and should be regarded as ‘fake news’”.

However, insider sources said Mrs. Sulaiman-Ibrahim had immediately summoned an emergency management meeting on the same Thursday where she gave immediate directives on the issues raised by HURIWA.

“The HFC summoned an emergency management meeting on Thursday and directed that the operational vehicle, a bullet proof Landcruiser donated by the UNHCR be immediately taken to our Maiduguri office where it is meant for by the donor.

“I can also inform you that our promotions, which the HFC had been sitting on simply because some people she did not like were going to benefit and occupy sensitive were also released on Thursday. With this development, our staff has now stepped up to the position of Deputy Director Procurement”, he said.

However, Mrs. Sumailan-Ibrahim’s troubles appear far from being over as some staff of the agency has petitioned the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, urging her to rescue the organisation from alleged impending collapse under her leadership.

The petition was also said to have been copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, Inspector General of Police, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, and the National Human Rights Commission.

It is recalled that the HFC has been in a running battle with the staff of the Commission.

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