By Nwafor Sunday
Following the N2.67 billion school feeding money the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Monday, said it uncovered in private bank accounts, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, Tuesday, queried the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development of Nigeria, Sadiya Umar Farouq, to publish details and names of suspects.
ICPC had through its Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, disclosed that the commission unraveled N2.67 billion in personal accounts, being payment made to some federal colleges for school feeding during the lockdown.
He argued that the money was paid when children were not in school.
Other discoveries include: 18 buildings, 12 business premises and 25 plots of land. Owasanoye said under Open Treasury Portal review carried out between January to August 15, 2020, of 268 Ministries, Departments and Agendas, MDAs, 72 had cumulative infractions of N90 million.
Reacting to this, SERAP via its official Facebook handle said: “Following the disclosure by the ICPC that N2.67bn meant for school feeding during the COVID-19 lockdown ended up in private bank accounts, we’re calling on the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development of Nigeria, Sadiya Umar Farouq to immediately publish details of those suspected to be responsible, or face legal action.
“If the names are not immediately published, we’ll issue a freedom of information request to ensure that those involved are named and shamed.
“We’ll also pursue appropriate legal actions to hold suspected perpetrators to account, in the public interest.
“Diverting funds meant to feed school children [who are already disproportionately affected by corruption], especially during COVID-19 is a blatant violation of the rights to education, health, and dignity, as well as the government’s own COVID-19 transparency frameworks.
“Corruption in school feeding increases distrust in the government. The Federal Government must ensure transparency and accountability measures are fundamental to all school feeding and other initiatives in the context of COVID-19, to ensure the children receive the support they need.”