RELIEFMATERIALS SEIZED BY CUSTOMS DEPT AND ORDERED TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO ORPHANAGES, IDPS DISAPPEAR

There is growing concern over the alleged diversion of relief materials meant for orphanages across the country.

Arewa Trust reports that the Controller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali had recently directed that items seized by the service be distributed to orphanages, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) and vulnerable people across the country.

Our correspondent has, however, gathered that some people are taking advantage of the goodwill to enrich themselves.

While some are using the name of the Kaduna state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to give out covering letters to unaccredited organisations/individuals, others are collecting items fraudulently, a source within the ministry who preferred to remain anonymous revealed

“Some unscrupulous elements in the ministry went ahead and distributed letters to some organisations which do not have orphanages just to smear the image of the ministry.

“It is not fair to say food meant for orphans is being diverted by people whom I know, are going to sell and make money. What business does the ministry have that it is being allocated 165 bags of rice, six cartons of spaghetti, six bales of second hand clothes, 16 kegs of vegetable oil, 16 cartons of mosquito coil and seven cartons of soap if not that somebody or some people want to sell these products.

“The ministry is not an orphanage besides, we have given the list of our genuine orphanages and they have all benefited, why then do we have these items in our store.”

The source disclosed that the ministry has mapped out its genuine list of orphanages in the state and lamented how some unscrupulous elements inflated the list and included names that are not in the genuine list.

He called on the CG of NCS to put in place stringent measures to address the problem squarely saying, “If not addressed, the whole initiative will not get to the people who really are in need.”

When contacted, the Commissioner, Kaduna state Ministry of Women and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba said her ministry did not seek for any allocation from the NCS in the on-going distribution of relief materials to orphanages.

She stated that the only approved list of beneficiaries is the one provided by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development compiled after a meticulous exercise to ascertain the actual number of functional orphanages in the state.

She explained that the ministry submitted a list of 36 recognized institutions that had orphans as inmates.

“We did not in any way make a request on behalf of the ministry to receive items. Any distribution of items made to institutions outside the approved list of 36 orphanages by the ministry is illegal.”

Reacting to a letter of introduction signed by one Ismail Musa for the Honorable Commissioner and addressed to the Chairman of the Committee on Seized Items, she said: “As the Commissioner of Women Affairs, I did not authorize any staff to write or request for allocation on behalf of the Ministry.”

She urged the committee to disregard any letter purportedly written on her behalf by any officer saying, it did not come from her and do not enjoy her support.

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