The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has distanced itself from the N2.67bn school feeding money found in private accounts.
The money was meant for feeding of school children during the lockdown occasioned by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Ripples Nigeria reported that the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said on Monday that the commission uncovered the diversion of N2.67 billion meant for school feeding programme in federal colleges to personal accounts.
Owasanoye, who disclosed this in his keynote address at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption and Launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the money was diverted to personal accounts during the COVID-19 lockdown, adding that the commission also discovered the sum of N2.5 billion appropriated by a deceased senior civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture for himself and cronies.
Reacting to calls by SERAP in a series of tweets for the ministry to provide names of the account holders where the money was discovered or face litigation, the ministry, in a statement issued on Monday night by the Special Assistant on Media to its minister, Nneka Anibeze, said that the statement by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on the said funds was twisted and misinterpreted.
“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,” it said in the statement.
According to the ministry, the school feeding under scrutiny was the feeding of students in Federal Government colleges across the country.
“It is not under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs which only oversees Home Grown School Feeding for children in Primaries one to three in select public schools across the country.
“The ministry or the minister does not even handle or disburse funds for Home Grown School Feeding. The money for funding the programme neither passes through the minister nor the ministry”, the statement said further.
The ministry further explained that the over N2.5bn which was reportedly misappropriated by a senior civil servant took place in a different ministry and not the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
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