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PCNI sacks whistleblower staff for exposing diversion of educational relief materials

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Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative, PCNI, has sacked its Program Manager, Kyari Pindar Mishelia, for leaking out video of diversion of educational relief materials by the staff of the organization.

DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the educational materials were meant for distribution to six secondary schools in Maiduguri, Borno state.

However, a video suddenly surfaced showing how some of these items were ferried away in a Hillux van by Amina Maibe, the Director of Administration of the organization.

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Subsequently, secondary school students and teachers staged a protest demanding explanation as to where these items were taken to, a development that forced the Nigerian police to raid the Borno office of the organization.

During their operation, the police seized the mobile phones of all the staff members of the organization, in a bid to find out who leaked the said video to the public.

While briefing the staff members of the organization on Wednesday, February 13, Hauwa Biu, a member of the PCNI committee, had told the gathering that she was under pressure from the presidency to fish out those behind the diversion and the leaking of the video.

Mrs Biu was quoted as saying: “Please, I want everybody to switch off his phones before I speak. Vice President called me earlier this morning and he was very worried and he had given presidential order that the culprit must be identified.

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“He gave the ultimatum of 9:00 pm and failure to do so, he said all of you would be taken to Abuja.

“Those of you collaborating to leak stories to the media should know that you are sabotaging yourselves. Today, if they should dissolve the committee, we all have our Jobs but how about you? You have no place to go,” she added.

Subsequently, on Friday, February 15, the PCNI Vice Chairman, Tijjani Tumsa summoned an emergency meeting over the issue.

Our correspondent gathered that during the meeting, Mr Tumsa demanded to know how the press got a picture from Mr Kyari’s education materials distribution program at the army command.

“While Kyari was trying to respond to the vice chairman, Mrs Biu interjected and said Mr Kyari was very stupid,” our sources said.

“Kyari, there and then, threatened to expose the numerous scams that Hauwa Biu had attempted to force him to commit.”

The source added that Mr Kyari told the vice chairman he was only being blackmailed for refusing to compromise in the diversion of public funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

According to the source, Mr Kyari reminded Mrs Biu how she had asked him to divert cash donation meant for dozens of victims of accidental bombing in Rann, Kalabalge local government area of the state.

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He added that Mrs Biu had diverted humungous amount of money that was earmarked to take care of these victims at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH.

Moved by Mr Kyari’s revelations, Mr Tumsa ordered him to tender his resignation letter with immediate effect and hand over all properties of PCNI to the Administrative Director.

DAILY NIGERIAN learnt that the sacking of Mr Kyari had sparked outburst from the senior members of the PCNI Committee and the humanitarian stakeholders.

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The members of the committee thought the action of the vice chairman was against normal procedures.

One of the committee members who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that Mr Kyari was only being victimized because he is a Christian.

According to him, instead of investigating the matter and punishing culprits, the chairman chose to heed to the recommendation of Mrs Maibe who is his in-law, to sack Mr Kyari.

“The question is, was there a case of diversion? The answer is yes, but Tijjani Tumsa was more worried with witch-hunting Mr Kyari than tackling the issue,” the source lamented.

Another source from the United Nations who is familiar with the goings-on in the organization but did not want his identity revealed for fear of persecution bemoaned the humungous corrupt practices going on in the PCNI.

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He described as disturbing large amount of funds and items meant to bring some succour to the IDPs were being siphoned by a few individuals, regretting that the conditions in the camps are worsening every other day.

Recall that the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on IDPs, Refugees and Initiatives on North East, Sani Zorro, had called on the federal government to investigate alleged diversion of relief materials meant for humanitarian activities in the region.

Mr Zorro, in a statement he personally signed recently, disclosed that it was on record that the authorities concerned have continued to deprive the starving and desperate IDPs of food and non food items whose everyday complaints, pleas, and outcries only fell on the deaf ears of insensitive officials charged with their care.

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“These massive consignments comprising food and non food items procured with state resources are now either at varying stages of expiration or are being shared (in the open) to highly placed politicians for use as campaign tools in tour countdown to our general election.

“Evidence also abound of the age-old diversion and illegal sale of humanitarian assistance items in the open market. This is evil at its best, reprehensible and unacceptable to all men and women of conscience,” the statement said.

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