The Katsina Police Command on Saturday said it had arrested four persons for allegedly diverting tonnes of rice meant for Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East geopolitical zone.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Salisu Agaisa, told newsmen in Katsina that the suspects had claimed to be Customs agents.
The Federal Government had directed the Nigeria Customs Service to distribute rice it seized from smugglers to the various IDPs camps.
The police spokesman said the suspects were arrested after they offered to sell the commodity to one of the prominent persons in the state.
“One of the suspects had called the prominent person, through a mobile phone, saying that they had five trucks of the diverted rice for sale.
“Our investigation also shows that the suspects had concluded arrangement to sell a bag of rice to that person at the rate of N12, 500 per bag,’’ he said.
Agaisa said the suspects were later arrested at Liyafa Palace Hotel in Katsina, where they had lodged for 21 days.
He said the suspects would be prosecuted after investigations were completed.
Meanwhile, the Borno State Government on Saturday began massive clearing and fumigation of Bama town, recently liberated by the military, to prepare ground for the return of the people.
The Sole Administrator of the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency, Alhaji Nasiru Surundi, who launched the exercise in Bama, said it was to ensure the early return of the people back home.
“We are here with 1,000 personnel to clear the entire town of refuse and other rubbish ahead of the people’s return.
“We also came with 15 trucks of different capacity to facilitate our work,” Surundi said.
He said that BOSEPA had earlier deployed 40 environmental employees to commence the cleaning before the eventual launching.
“Already we have 40 environmental employees that had started the exercise before our arrival.
” We are also trying to reinforce our workers with additional manpower to fast-track the pace of work,” he said.
“We are also fumigating the town to take care of reptiles especially snakes and rodents that might be hidden inside people’s homes after being abandoned for several months.”
He added, “We have a spray machine with high capacity to fumigate areas in a short while we also have large stock of concentrated chemicals for the job,” he said.
Surundi said that BOSEPA was also spraying another set of chemicals that would prevent disease outbreaks after the return of the people.
He commended the workers for their zeal in carrying out the cleaning.
According to him, in the next two weeks, we would have achieved our dream of cleaning and clearing the town of unwanted things.
“God willing, we will not encounter landmines or any dangerous items during the clearing.
“We have submitted ourselves to God by carrying out prayers before we started. W e are determined to work and nothing will happen to us, ” Surundi said.
Bama, one of the worst hit towns by the Boko Haram insurgency, was liberated last year by the military after it has been occupied for several months by the insurgents.