Four thousand, seven hundred and twenty one bags of rice are allegedly missing from the 6,822 donated by the Customs to Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs’) camp in Edo State.
They were allegedly taken from the warehouse.
The state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused officials of diverting over 4,000 bags.
Over two thousand bags were given to IDPs at Ohogua in Ovia North East Local Government.
The Customs also donated 76 cartons of vegetable oil, and 20 pairs of used shoes, among others.
A November 10 letter signed by the Customs Assistant Comptroller-General, Mr. A. Azarema, showed that the items were from Imo, Cross River and Rivers commands.
PDP Chairman Chief Dan Orbih, who spoke when over 300 members of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) defected to the party, said Governor Godwin Obaseki must account for the missing bags of rice.
He said documents showed that the governor had a case to answer.
Orbih alleged: “I have the vouchers to show I am telling the truth. PDP will be in the forefront in liberating Edo State. Last December, the director-general of NCS gave 6,822 bags of rice to IDPs. Obaseki only gave 2,101 to the camp.
“The balance of 4,721 bags was taken by the governor for All Progressives Congress’ (APC’s) members. This is a serious matter. The bags were seized from those who imported rice illegally into the country.
“The governor pretended that they used their money to buy the rice and give to IDPs. I have been hearing of scandal, but none is as sensational as these missing bags of rice. Obaseki must account for the missing bags. He has a case to answer. They must return the bags of rice to the IDPs’ camp.”
Camp Coordinator Mr. Solomon Folorunsho said he only received 2,101 bags of rice as donation from NCS.
He said he was shocked when government officials brought the rice after the Customs notified him about the items.
Folorunsho said: “We received 2,101 bags of rice. We are still waiting for the rest. This place depends on people’s goodwill. Whoever is holding what belongs to the IDPs should release it.”
Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy Mr. Crusoe Osagie described PDP’s allegations as lies.
He said all items donated by the Customs, besides those damaged in storage, were distributed to IDPs and orphanages.
“The allegation is laughable and false. It is a design by detractors to smear the image of a performing government. Edo PDP has a rich history of diverting items meant for the less privileged. Its members think other people are like them,” Osagie said.
He said the government had made donations to people in distress “and it is irreconcilable that a known donor to humanitarian causes will divert items meant for IDPs.
“PDP’s allegation that of the 6,822 bags of rice meant for IDPs, over 4,000 bags were diverted, as only 2,101 bags were given to the IDPs, is a figment of the imagination of its members.”