Why N2.67bn School Feeding Fund Was Found in Private Accounts ― Minister Explains

Adamu Adamu

“… we discovered payments to some federal colleges (secondary schools) for school feeding in the sum of N2.67b during the lockdown when the children were not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts. We have commenced investigations into these findings’’

The above was the statement made by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, at its 2nd National Submit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector. 

This caused a lot of denial and acceptance in different ministries of the federation. First, many associated the fraud with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. This has however been disproved with a clarification statement issued by the ICPC on its website.

“The Commission wishes to clarify that the “school feeding” referred to by the Chairman of ICPC was the feeding of boarding students in Federal Government Colleges, who were all at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“This is NOT the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme being managed by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.”

ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye

Now, the focus shifted to the Ministry of Education who is in charge of the feeding of boarding students in Federal Government Colleges across Nigeria — there are about 104 of them called Unity Schools.

Following the revelation, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, directed a full investigation into the report. 

Revealing the result of the investigation, Adamu in a statement signed by the spokesperson of the ministry, Ben Gooong, said; “In response to queries issued by the Federal Ministry of Education, the Principals explained that payments on meal subsidies to Unity Colleges on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, (GIFMIS) platform is designed to accommodate individual officers of those colleges who are officially recognized to receive such payments and disburse the same to food vendors.

“This followed difficulties encountered by farmers, local food vendors, and market women who do not have Tax Identification Numbers (TIN), PENCOM, and other requirements to access the payment platform,”

This can be interpreted thus, the recipients (private account holders) received the money on behalf of the local food vendors, and market women because they do not have Tax Identification Numbers (TIN), PENCOM, and other requirements to access the payment platform

According to Adamu, the investigation was initiated to ensure there is no diversion of public funds or misappropriation of same.

ICPC Investigation

Highlighting how it conducted the investigation that revealed the chunks amount of cash in private accounts, the ICPC said it noticed the discrepancies during the review of publications on the Open Treasury Portal.

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Lanre Olanrewaju

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