Sadiya Umar Farouq says the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development has no link to the alleged N2.67bn school feeding fraud uncovered by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The ICPC disclosed on Monday that N2.67 billion paid to some federal colleges for school feeding during the COVID-19 lockdown ended up in private bank accounts. But in a statement issued by Nneka Ikem Anibeze, her special assistant on media and publicity, Umar Farouq said the school feeding in question is different from the home grown school feeding programme which is one of the humanitarian ministry’s social investment programmes (SIP). The minister said in August that the federal government spent over N500 million to feed pupils during the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
She said the home grown school feeding programme is for pupils in primaries 1-3 in select public schools across the country, and not for college students. She also said other cases of fraud mentioned by the ICPC have nothing to do with her ministry. “The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development hereby informs the public that the Federal Government Colleges school feeding in question is different from the Home Grown School Feeding which is one of its Social Investment Programmes,” the statement read.
“That the School Feeding under scrutiny is feeding of students in Federal Government Colleges across the country and is not under the Federal ministry of Humanitarian Affairs which only oversees Home Grown School Feeding for children in Primaries 1-3 in select public schools across the country. “That the over N2.5 billion which was reportedly misappropriated by a senior civil servant (name withheld) took place in a different ministry and not the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.”
The minister asked the ICPC to publish the names of persons complicit in the school feeding fraud and to freeze the accounts where the missing funds were found. “The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development calls on The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC to publish the names of persons, federal colleges and school heads whose names have been found to be associated with the missing funds and also freeze the accounts where the said funds were diverted,” she said.
“The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs therefore calls on the general public to disregard the false reports being linked to the ministry as it is not in anyway involved in the Federal Government Colleges School Feeding.”