Humanitarian ministry denies N2.67bn school feeding fraud allegation —
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Humanitarian ministry denies N2.67bn school feeding fraud allegation

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Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, has denied the misappropriation of N2.67billion meant for the feeding of school children during the COVID-19 lockdown.

It would be recalled that the Chairperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye, in a series of tweets, via the commission’s verified Twitter handle on Monday, said investigations done by the ICPC had shown that the said funds were diverted into private accounts.

The commission also alleged that over N2.5billion was “misappropriated by a senior civil servant (name withheld) in the ministry of agriculture and now deceased, for himself and cronies.

“We discovered the payment of N2.67billion during lockdown when the children were not in school, and some money ended up in personal accounts. We have commenced investigations into these findings,” the tweet partly read.

Reacting to ICPC’s allegation, the minister in a statement signed by her Special Assistant on Media, Nneka Anibeze, said the report was misinterpreted.

She urged the ICPC to publish the names of the persons, federal colleges and schools head whose names were discovered to be associated with the missing funds and to also freeze the accounts where the funds were diverted.

According to the statement, ‘‘the amount traced by the commission on school feeding is different from the federal government’s Home-Grown School Feeding Programme under the National Social Investment Programmes, SIPs.’’

Anibeze described the report as false and unfair and those accusing the minister of corruption are being malicious.

“The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development hereby inform the public that federal government colleges school feeding is different from the Home Grown School Feeding, which is one of its Social Investment Programmes.

“The school feeding under scrutiny is that of students in federal government colleges across the country and it is not under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which only oversees the Home Grown School Feeding for children in primaries one-three in select public schools across the country.’’

It also claimed that the minister or the ministry does not handle or disburse funds for NHGSFP.

The school feeding programme was introduced in 2016 as part of the N500billion funded Social Investment Programme of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. It was projected to provide 1.14million jobs across the country, including community women, who would be engaged as cooks.

 

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