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Humanitarian ministry denies diverting N2.72b school feeding fund

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The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development yesterday denied diverting to private bank accounts the N2.72b budgeted for school feeding by the government.

It expressed concern that the report emanated after a presentation by Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, during the Second National Summit on Diminishing Corruption presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

In a statement, Nneka Anibeze, Special Adviser on Media to the Minister, Sadiya Farouq, explained that the N2.72b allegedly diverted was meant for unity schools, which are not under her principal’s supervision.

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She therefore denied the report that the money was diverted by the ministry, claiming that the report was aimed at smearing the image of the ministry.

The report, which was part of a preliminary investigation, indicated that part of the N2.72b was diverted to private accounts and that a deceased senior civil servant (name withheld) in the Ministry of Agriculture misappropriated over N2.5b.

Anibeze said that some persons latched on the report without verifying the particular feeding programme the money was meant for to disparage the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the Home Grown School Feeding initiative.

The ministry insisted that the Federal Government Colleges’ school feeding was different from the Home Grown School Feeding, which is one of its social investment programmes.

The ministry further explained that the ICPC recovered N16b worth of assets from the said ministry, which was paid into an individual’s account for non-official purposes and not the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.The statement demanded that the accounts be frozen and the names of those involved in the alleged diversion published.

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