Education ministry, ICPC to probe N2.67bn spent on school feeding

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Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu addressing teachers at the 2020 vehicles won in the Presidential Teachers' & Schools’ Excellence Award on 5th October, 2020
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Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has ordered a full-scale investigation into the report of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) about school feeding funding.

It would be recalled that the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye recently said about N2.67 billion meant for school feeding of the 104 Unity Colleges during the COVID-19 lockdown was found in individual accounts and that the payment was made to some federal colleges.

Reacting to this, education minister in a statement signed by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Ben Bem Goong on Tuesday, stated that the investigation is to establish the veracity of the claims and to ensure that there is no diversion of public funds or misappropriation of same.

He 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,” he noted.

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According to the statement, the principals also explained that payments made during the lockdown period had to do with debts owed food vendors even before COVID-19, some of which are still pending.

The statement added that these debts arose from irregular and inadequate budgetary allocations and releases over the years.

The ministry, in line with the Minister’s directive, is to collaborate effectively with officials of the ICPC to unearth the facts as well as find a lasting solution to the payment system for meal subsidies that will ensure accountability and transparency.

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