By Bashir Bello
KATSINA—A food vendor, Malam Dayyaba Ibrahim engaged under the free school feeding programme in Katsina State, has accused the coordinator and Special Adviser on Girl-Child Education, Hajiya Binta Abba of alleged shady deals.
Dayyaba, engaged to serve meals to pupils in Gurbi, Jibia local government area of the state accused the coordinator of forcibly collecting their ATM cards, and withdrawing their money.
But, when contacted, the Coordinator and Special Adviser, Hajiya Binta Abba denied knowledge of Dayyaba’s allegations.
However, the food vendor who narrated their experiences to newsmen, said the coordinators running the programme breached agreement reached under the programme.
She however called on the government to intervene to address the matter and get the persons affected their rights and entitlements..
According to her, “The government paid us N56,000 through our bank accounts and ATM cards but the S.A and Coordinator, Hajiya Binta summoned us to Katsina and collected our ATM cards. They withdrew the money and denied us our entitlements.
“The money was meant for preparing meals for the school children. I have 101 school children under me that I will feed with the N56, 000. So they asked us to bring the money so that they will buy the foodstuff and give us to prepare the meals. Already our ATMs are with them so they made the withdrawals. This negates the agreement.
“When we were about to be engaged for the programme, the agreements were that we would be paid through our banks and the money must be utilized strictly for feeding pupils and that we would buy the foods stuff ourselves and prepare them for the pupils. The food must be hygienic and nutritional in quality.
“To our surprise, they made us incur debts to prepare the meals for the pupils but they have not reimbursed us.
“For instance, those engaged in the first round were given money to buy foodstuff and prepare for the pupils. When the money got finished, they stopped.
“We were suddenly invited to Katsina by the Coordinator. Already our ATM cards were with them because they threatened us that anyone who failed to release her ATM would be dropped from the programme. So, for fear, we released the ATM cards in order to benefit from the government programme also aimed at empowering the women.
“We are 10 with similar case. But others are presently at home. I felt we were been cheated and needed justice to be done and our rights reclaimed.”
“Before going to the media, I visited her house (Coordinator) to register my grievances and later went to her office where I was told she was not on seat and that she was in Abuja. There again we were told we will be paid N5, 000 but I insisted my money is N10, 000 plus N55,000 for food stuff and transportations,” Dayyaba said.
She continued when she said they were been dropped from the programme owing to the insecurity in the area.
“All I want here is justice particularly that the school feeding programme have been stopped in the area giving as excuse issue of insecurity which doesn’t deter us from taking the meals to the pupils and other activities,” Dayyaba noted.