PDP insists Obaseki diverted IDPs’ bags of rice
The Peoples Democratic Party in Edo State, on Saturday, insisted that the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration allegedly diverted over 6, 000 bags of rice meant for the internally displaced persons in the state.
The state PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, told our correspondent that his party was not convinced by the explanations offered by Obaseki on the issue and vowed to ensure that the rice got to the rightful owners.
The state government has said it owed the PDP no further explanation on how it distributed the over 6,000 bags of rice donated to the IDPs.
The food items were seized by the Nigeria Customs Service from suspected smugglers and donated to victims of insurgency in the North-East through the state government, in line with a presidential directive.
Orbih, while displaying letters allegedly addressed to Obaseki by the NCS on the relief items, claimed that over 4,000 bags were diverted by the governor for himself and members of the All Progressives Congress.
Obaseki denied the allegation, adding that the items were judiciously distributed to the IDPs.
The Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to the governor, Crusoe Osagie, explained that out of the 6,821 bags allocated to the state, 4,639 of them were received by the government while 2,182 were bad and unfit for consumption.
He said while the IDP camp in Benin got a total of 2,601 bags of rice, two other camps in Edo North and Central senatorial districts as well as orphanages received 1,421 bags.
He also added that the remaining 617 bags were in a government warehouse.
But the opposition insisted that the items were diverted by the state government.
Orbih told SUNDAY PUNCH that the governor flouted the directive contained in the letter from the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), that the relief items be donated to the Benin IDP camp.
He said the claim by the government that some of the bags were bad and unfit for consumption was deceitful.
Orbih said, “I have documents showing clearly the instruction of where the rice should be sent to.
“There was no mention of an orphanage in the letter from the customs; there was no mention of the other places it claimed it took the rice to. Whatever it did was a violation of the instruction in that letter.’’
However, the state government advised the PDP to channel its proof to relevant security agencies.
Osagie said, “We do not owe it (PDP) any further explanation. In any case, we have petitioned the police, Department of State Services and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to invite Orbih to come forward with the evidence he has and show Edo people that his claims are correct.’’