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Group queries N96b School Feeding Programme, demands full disclosure

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ODUNITAN AYENI, Abuja

 

A group under the auspices of Lawyers of Conscience has come under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011 to demand the full disclosure of the Ministry spending as it relates to National Home Grown School Feeding Programme for Public Primary School Pupils in Nigeria.

 

The group on Wednesday in Abuja through its leader, Chief Nkereuwem Ndofia Akpan, said they have written to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development demanding for comprehensive information on the school feeding programme but  ’till this moment not a word or response from any of the three supposed government entities’, he said.

 

It would be recalled that the Ministry was created on August 21, 2019 to coordinate the Buhari administration’s response to the humanitarian challenges in the country, under the Ministry, the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) to deliver through the N-power, Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer and Empowerment Programme of the Buhari Administration

 

He narrated how the Ministry, during the 2020-2021 lockdown spent N96 billion in nine months to feed school children at a time the kids were at home and not in session.

 

Udofia-Akpan said:“Back in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, Nigeria’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development received N258.4 billion between January and September 2020, out of which it spent N96.3 billion of the sum within the same period.

 

“The NSIP expenditure includes N66.1 billion spent on recurrent expenditure and N29.1 billion spent on capital projects.

 

He explained further: “After the revision of the 2020 budget due to the shortfall in government revenue as a result of COVID-19 and drop in oil price, a sum of N374.4 billion was appropriated for the NSIP. This comprised N292 billion as recurrent expenditure, N50 billion as capital expenditure and N32.5 billion as COVID-19 capital spending”.

 

He added that the latter was allocated for the provision of cash transfer to “additional 1 million poor Nigerians under the COVID-19 Intervention Fund” and to “cover the development of a Rapid Response Register (RRR) and the provision of #5,000.00 to target beneficiaries over a period of 12 month.”

 

Barr. Akpan described as sad situation as he urged the Ministry to urgently give account of details disbursement of money meant for the project.

 

‘It’s a sad situation we have found ourselves, our nation is bleeding yet government and public officials act like our national treasury belong to them,’ he said.

 

‘Let it be on record that we will get to the bottom of this search for Justice. Nigeria and Nigerians deserve to know how their common wealth is being used’.

 

He added that the judiciary while carrying out their functions, to continue to remain resolute, firm and unyielding in giving effect to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 and by imposing exemplary and punitive costs against MDAs and other who fail to supply information requested for under the Act.

 

“We want to state emphatically, that we shall be approaching the courts to compel the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to make this information public to Nigerians”, Barr. Akpan concluded

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