The Managing Director of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC), Mohammed Goni Alkali, and other top officials of the agency secretly diverted millions of naira and relief materials meant for Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps in the region, SaharaReporters has learnt.
An NEDC official told SaharaReporters that the cash, food and relief materials meant for the IDPs were diverted by Alkali and his cronies to their “political associates and followers.”
He stated, “Last year, the Managing Director single-handedly procured all Coronavirus materials and supplies to the tune of N5billion without an approval from the board. Another massive corruption scheme going on is one housing scheme in Maiduguri (Borno State) without the board’s knowledge.
“During this recent Sallah, Alkali and each board member went home with millions of naira whereas the IDPs and others in the North-East region had nothing to eat. Food meant for the displaced persons were also diverted and distributed by Alkali and his cronies as gifts to their political followers in their respective states.
“Alkali is doing all these to back the presidential bid of a former Governor of Borno State, Senator Shettima Kashim. All he is interested in is the politics of 2023. They award bogus sums in contracts without recourse to the approved template. Alkali is using his son who doubles as his personal assistant to carry out all the contracts.”
Another official, who confirmed the infractions, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to beam its searchlight on the commission.
“He has bought almost of the media organisations in Nigeria; a group recently defended him and he paid N50million to them for the face-saving public relations done for him.
“One Ambassador Shehu was the person that received the money. His other members have been looking for him around Bauchi and Maiduguri because he refused to share the money he got from the director, according to what they agreed on,” the source revealed.
NEDC was established in 2017, after the bill establishing the commission was passed by the two legislative chambers. On October 25, 2017, Buhari assented to the bill and signed it into an Act.
The core mandate of NEDC, “among other things”, is to “receive and manage funds from allocation of the Federal Account, international donors for the settlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency as well as tackling menace of poverty, illiteracy level, ecological problems and any other related environmental or developmental challenges in the North-East states.”
The NEDC bill was signed into law in October 2017 by President Buhari to replace other initiatives such as the Presidential Initiative on North-East and Victims Support Fund (VSF). He board of management was inaugurated in May 2019.
There have been mass displacements of people in the North-East as a result of the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, where houses, schools, mosques, churches, farmlands and businesses had been destroyed and people rendered homeless and jobless.