EDUCATION

ICPC Clarifies Those Involved In N2.7bn School Feeding Scam, Says Humanitarian Ministry Innocent

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has clarified that the Federal Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development is not involved in the school feeding fund scam it discovered.

It also freed the Minister in charge of the Ministry, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq of any form of guilt in the management of the said fund.

the ICPC chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasonoye in a presentation on Monday during the National Summit on Diminishing Corruption, highlighted that part of the N2.67billion meant for the school feeding programme was diverted to private accounts.

Shortly after he made the submission, some reports started claiming Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, as well as her Ministry, are linked with the diversion of the school feeding funds.

She, however, moved quickly to distance herself from the mismanaged funds through a statement released on Monday by her media aide, Nneka Ikem Anibeze where she explained that the fund mentioned by Owasanoye is not handled by the ministry neither does it pass through the Minister.

Farouq’s position has been corroborated in a statement on Tuesday by the ICPC where the anti-corruption agency explained that the fund spoken of by its chairman “is NOT the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme being managed by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.”

It explained that the “school feeding” referred to by the Chairman of ICPC was the feeding of boarding students in Federal Government Colleges, who were all at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Below is the full ICPC statement in reaction to the controversy.

“The attention of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been drawn to some reports making the rounds on a segment of the speech delivered by the ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, yesterday, Monday, 28th September 2020 at its 2nd National Submit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector. The said reports erroneously implied that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs diverted monies meant for Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.”

“In the speech, Professor Owasanoye stated inter alia, ‘’… we discovered payments to some federal colleges (secondary schools) for school feeding in the sum of N2.67b during the lockdown when the children were not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts. We have commenced investigations into these findings’’.

“The Commission wishes to clarify that the “school feeding” referred to by the Chairman of ICPC was the feeding of boarding students in Federal Government Colleges, who were all at home during the COVID-19 lockdown. This is NOT the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme being managed by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.”

“The Commission 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.”

“This statement is issued for the purpose of clarifying the statement of the Hon. Chairman. Consequently, the general public is hereby advised to disregard the said reports suggesting reference to the school feeding programme going on in primary schools.”

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