School feeding scandal: Farouq dissociates self, asks ICPC to publish names, freeze accounts



By Chimezie Godfrey
The Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Sadiya Farouq has dissociated the ministry from a scandal of alleged misappropriation of  N2.72bn  meant for school feeding program during the lockdown.
This was contained in a statement signed by Minister’s Special Assistant (SA) on Media, Nneka Nkem Anibeze and made available to Newsdiaryonline on Monday.
“The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development wishes to dissociate itself from a trending report in the media  titled “N2.72b for School Feeding During Lockdown Diverted To Private Accounts,” the statement read.
The statement added,”The report  emanated after a presentation by the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption and  was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
“The report states thus,’preliminary investigation had indicated that part of the N2.67billion was diverted to private accounts.
“It also revealed that over N2.5 billion was misappropriated by a senior civil servant (name withheld) in the ministry of agriculture and now deceased, for himself and cronies.”
The Minister stressed that the statement by ICPC was twisted and misinterpreted by mischief makers and directed at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
“The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development hereby inform 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.
“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.
“That the ICPC  recovered N16 billion worth of assets from the said ministry which was paid  into an individual account for non-official purposes and not the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,” the Minister stated.
Faoruq described those casting aspersions on her as malicious and unfair.
She called 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.
The Minister further called 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.