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SERAP tasks EFCC, ICPC on monitoring of FG’s home feeding programme

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Federal Government to engage the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor implementation of its school feeding programme.

It also requested publication of full details of suppliers and contractors, procurement rules, bidding processes, total budget and all designated voucher distribution and collection sites for the implementation of the programme.

The request was contained in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request dated May 9, 2020 and sent to Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadia Umar-Farouk.

In the request signed by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the group is also seeking “information on the number of states to be covered during the COVID-19 crisis, projected spending per state, details of mechanisms and logistics for the programme, as well as the role expected of the World Food Programme.”

Umar-Farouk had earlier announced that the Federal Government would start feeding school children in their homes during the COVID-19 crisis, starting from Ogun, Lagos and Abuja.

But SERAP said publishing the details was in the public interest and would help to address doubts about the ability of the government to effectively implement the programme, promote openness, allow Nigerians to track its implementation and hold suppliers and contractors accountable.

“SERAP notes that the United Nations (UN) Convention Against Corruption party requires governments to set the highest standards of transparency, accountability and probity in programmes it oversees.

“The government has a responsibility to ensure that the requirements and other anti-corruption controls are fully implemented and monitored and to ensure that the programme benefits the children and families for which it is meant.

“Publishing the details of suppliers and contractors and the procurement rules being implemented for executing the programme at home would also remove the risks of conflicts of interest and its politicisation, as well as promote transparency and accountability,” it stated.

The rights group disclosed that information at its disposal indicated that the Federal Government through was ready to partner with states, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and World Food Programme, to implement the programme at home during the lockdown.

“The home feeding programme followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive in March, 2020 to your ministry to identify modalities and its continuation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Procurement and contracting are high-risk areas for mismanagement and corruption. By Section 1 (1) of the FoI Act 2011, SERAP is entitled to request and access information, including information on details of suppliers and contractors that have been engaged to implement the programme at home,” it added.


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