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JOS CRISIS: NEMA, CAN RECONCILE DIFFERENCES OVER VICTIMS REHABILITATION

By NBF News
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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Plateau yesterday, reconciled their differences over NEMA's claim of rehabilitating one million Jos crisis victims in Bauchi.

The Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Sidi and CAN Chairman in Plateau, Revd Mwelbish Dafes, at a parley in Jos, blamed 'communication gap' for the crisis of confidence between them over the distribution of relief materials to victims of the crisis.

NEMA and CAN had been locked in a battle over Sani-Sidi's claim in September that NEMA had compiled over one million names of Jos crisis victims in Bauchi with a view to 'massively and elaborately' cater  for them and their families in line with President Jonathan's directive.

But CAN, in a swift reaction, faulted the figure, saying the total population of Jos-North, where the victims were from, was less than one million people.

CAN contended that  the figure for the Jos victims in Bauchi, which was less than Plateau in population and landmass, could not  have been  over a million victims in one Local Government Area.

CAN alleged that the figure was fabricated by the agency to justify the release of billions of naira for Jos crisis, accusing NEMA officials of fraud, racketeering and of feeding fat on the crisis situation.

The association also accused NEMA of ethnic and religious bias in distributing relief materials, saying none of the victims of attacks in Jos had benefited but were purportedly taken to the 'one million victims'  in Bauchi.

However, the leadership of both CAN and NEMA, after the meeting at the CAN secretariat in Jos, said the crisis of confidence between the two organisations was created by 'communication gap.'

CAN Chairman, Revd Mwelbish Dafes, said: 'Because of the communication gap and possibly the inflation of the number of victims, realities have come to bear, they have gone round to see things for themselves and we have agreed that the two bodies would work together as a team.

'They (NEMA) have also promised to assist those victims who have not been given relief materials and we said our people were not being catered for, we are now satisfied with their explanation and re-assessment.'

Dafes said CAN had misgivings that Christian victims in the crisis were not being catered for because the leadership of the agency belonged to another religion but expressed confidence in the ability of the two bodies to work together.

'We (CAN) believe in what NEMA has said; we have confidence in them because they have given us their words and as religious leaders, we believe in what you say; so, we believe that NEMA will do something.

'We have agreed that we would work together as a team to prevent future occurrence of emergency and crisis situations in Jos and Plateau; for now there are no more grey areas,' Dafes said.

NEMA's Director of Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr Edward Miaigida, who represented the Director-General of the Agency, described  NEMA's meeting with the leadership of CAN as 'very fruitful'.

'There were allegations by CAN Plateau that NEMA was discriminating against the Christians in the state with regards to the crisis that broke out in 2010 and early this year but there are no facts to back up those allegations, they are all opinions.

'We view these allegations as very serious so the D-G felt there was the need for us (NEMA) to meet with CAN to explain to them our activities and the interventions the agency has been giving to victims of Jos crisis.

'But NEMA has presented facts and figures to CAN on the interventions the agency gave to the victims and they were very surprised; some of them said if they had that information, perhaps they would not have made this kind of spurious allegations,' Maigida said.

The director said that NEMA and CAN undertook assessment of areas affected by the 2010 and 2011 attacks in Barkin-Ladi, Riyom and Jos-South Local Governments and would report back to the director-general for the agency to take  necessary action.

'It is one thing to say that we did not give intervention but it is a different thing completely to say that it is not enough.

'If they are saying that it is not enough, and I believe that is the situation, we would look into the matter again.