The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has denied reports it said erroneously implied that the minister of humanitarian affairs Sadiya Umar Farouk diverted monies meant for Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
In a clarification it issued on Tuesday, ICPC said the “school feeding programme” it meant was the “feeding of boarding students in federal government colleges who were at home during the COVID-19 lockdown and not the HGSFP being managed by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
- School feeding programme gulps over N500m during lockdown – Minister
- Ghost cooks uncovered in Kaduna school feeding programme
- N2.67b ‘school feeding’ fund uncovered in private accounts
“This is NOT the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme being managed by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,” it tweeted.
This is NOT the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme being managed by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
— ICPC Nigeria (@ICPC_PE) September 29, 2020
ICPC chairman Bolaji Owasanoye had said the commission discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67 billion during lockdown when children were not in school, and some of the money ended up in private personal account.
The disclosure specifically mentioned the ministry of agriculture and not the humanitarian affairs ministry nor minister.
ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, said on Tuesday, “The commission [ICPC] had discovered through its review of publications on the Open Treasury portal that statutory monthly allocations meant for the feeding of secondary school students of some Federal Government Colleges were diverted into personal accounts.”
Reacting to the earlier report on the circumventing of the TSA by some MDAs, the Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, told Daily Trust that the disclosure by the ICPC vindicates the position of the centre that the COVID-19 pandemic was yet another opportunity for public officials to loot the treasury.
According to him, at a time Nigerians were languishing from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, the focus of these unpatriotic elements was to engage in the steal of scarce national resources.
“We commend the ICPC for exposing this grand scale looting of public funds going on in the MDAs. It is also very laudable, that the commission has gone on to expose the modus operandi of those who felt that even at a time COVID-19 was dealing a big blow to the lives of citizens, the pandemic for them was an opportunity to steal public funds.
“CHRICED calls on the ICPC to take the next decisive step of ensuring diligent prosecution of the public officials who committed these infractions. The revelations by the commission also call to question the nature of oversight in the government; it begs belief that approval processes within the government can be so easily circumvented resulting in billions ending up in private bank accounts. This clearly shows that the leakages, which the current government promised to block, have even widened beyond what they used to be,” Zikirullahi said.