The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, NCFRMI, has been accused of misgovernance, executive excesses, high level corruption, and loss of focus.
Raising the allegations and calling for the immediate reform and repositioning of the agency is none other than the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA.
HURIWA made the call during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday where it cried out and raised concerns over what it described as sad developments in the agency.
The rights group said that these untoward issues have become the order of the day in the NCFRMI under the leadership of Mrs. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim as the Honourable Federal Commissioner/CEO of the agency.
The rights group said it is particularly hurt by these unsavoury issues given the peculiar mandate of the agency to cater to the welfare of about the most vulnerable set of Nigerians and foreign nationals displaced by insurgency and other forms of insecurity, natural disasters, and communal clashes.
On the allegation regarding lost of focus, corruption and msapplication of logistics, HURIWA recalled that on resumption of office in June 2021, Mrs. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim awarded contract of N35 million for the furnishing of the office of the Honourable Federal Commissioner, HFC notwithstanding that her successor, Senator Bashir Lado, had reportedly tastefully renovated and refurbished less than five months before leaving the office.
“We consider this a gross Misapplication of public funds, especially given that the Commission’s zonal offices are in total disrepair with staff lacking logistics and basic office furniture to carry out their legitimate duties.
“The Maiduguri, Enugu, Yola, Kano, Kebbi, and Illorin zonal and field offices are seriously lacking in furniture and working tools. Gentlemen of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, kindly visit these offices to see for yourselves.”
The human rights organisation claimed that it gathered that some staff working under the commission even come to office with their personal chairs but this embarrassing situation did not stop the commissioner from allegedly furnishing her office at the cost of N35 million.
HURIWA noted that of a particular interest is the agency’s office in Maiduguri which does not have an operational vehicle as we learnt from reliable sources.
The group said that Mrs. Sulaiman has refused to release a Toyota Landcruiser given to the agency’s Maiduguri office by the United Nations Refugee High Commission (UNHCR) for six months now.
The human rights organisation raises allegations on flagrant disregard for procurement procedures, arson and intimidation of staff; and also queried the Operation Zero Hunge launched by the commissioner in conjunction with the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association DEPOWA.
The operation was said to have been launched as a replacement for the normal distribution of food and other household items to IDPs and refugees by the Commission.
It is also alleged that the inflation of travel costs, among other alleged irregularities have become rife at the Commission.
The rights group further alleged that for insistence on due process, the Director of Procurement was sacked, adding that before that, the Assistant Director of Procurement was redeployed to Planning and replaced with an Assistant Director imported from NAPTIP.
In view of the ugly developments, the rights organisations demands the
Immediate investigation of the allegations and if found to be meritorious and credible then relieve Mrs. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim of her appointment; the immediate commencement of a forensic audit of the Commission’s finances, including all procurements since her assumption of office in June 2021 and the immediate commencement of investigations into the alleged arson in the procurement office of Commission, vandalisation of the car of the Director of Procurement and removal of vital documents.
Other demands include that President Muhammadu Buhari direct the IGP and DG, DSS to protect the staff of the cCommission, including union leaders, from alleged abuses, intimidation, and assaults; direct the Commission to desist from threatening staff, including married women, who frown at the ongoings in the Commission, with deployment to field offices; direct the Commission to immediately release the operational vehicle (Landcruiser) donated to the Commission by the UNHCR for fieldwork in Borno State to the Maiduguri Office; and lastly direct the Commission to stop the Operation Zero Hunger and revert to the normal distribution of food and household items to IDPs and refugees.
When contacted by NAIJATABLOID to respond to the allegations and more, Lanre, the Technical Assistant to Chief Executive Officer, said he was not in the position to speak on the matter and refused to offer any help. According to him, “What I’m saying is that I’m not in the right position to give you such information.” DailyPost