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Reps Probe 494b Alleged School-feeding Funds Fraud

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday begun probe of over N494 billion budgeted from inception and the identity of the 9 million pupils who benefitted from the School feeding programme initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2016.

Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Rep. Wole Oke who criticised at the breach of the Public Procurement Act, demanded relevant authorizations from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the budgetary approvals for the scheme from inception, as well as the lists of schools, locations and month by month, year by year details of allocations and expenditure.

The Committee resolved to summon the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the Director-General of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Mr. Yemi Kale to appear before it and tender records of payment to the agency and details of the children benefiting from the programme as well as the names of the school children allegedly handed over to the National Coordinator of the School Feeding Programme.

Rep. Oke also directed the Special Assistant to the President on Home School Feeding Programme, Mr. Dotun Adebayo to furnish the House with details of the cooks, state, location of the benefiting schools as well as the over 9 million children in 84,000 schools across the country that have benefited from the programme.

While responding to questions raised by the lawmakers, Adebayo who earlier argued that the State Governments are in possession of the details of the list of pupils who benefitted from the School feeding programme, later explained that the NBS handed over the list of the students.

Adebayo who disclosed that the agency has only printed out the names of the beneficiaries in 3 States however affirmed that the agency has not done the total enumeration of all of them.

He said: “We have details of the schools, but particulars of the benefiting children are with the States. We don’t have the details because it is part of the MoU we signed with the States,” adding that 34 States and FCT are participating while Kwara and Bayelsa are yet to be enrolled.

He said the two states have not met the criteria set for participating in the programme, which includes a commitment from the State government, adding that only states that have committed to the success of the programme are currently benefiting from it.

“We can’t pay money outside the framework of the programme. Any state that did not meet the requirement will be left out of the programme. Presently, we budget N70 per child. It is not our intention to exempt any state from the programme. As I said, communication has been made to State governments over the years on the programme and no State is left out,” Mr. Dotun explained.

While speaking on the mode of payments to the 102,000 cooks and other suppliers engaged, Mr. Adebayo explained that all of them are paid directly by the agency and not through any agency or third party.

While frowning at the poor implementation of the scheme, Hon. Oke who noted that section 88 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) empowers the House to investigate and expose corruption, vowed that the officers must account for every kobo spent from the taxpayer’s money.

He also frowned at the unilateral decision of the implementing agency over the adoption of the State procurement policy for the scheme which National Assembly appropriated fund for, adding that the entire exercise was done without procurement plan as provided in the Public Procurement Act.

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Iheanacho Shines As Leicester Beats Spartak Moscow 4-3

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Patson Daka scored four goals as Leicester revived their Europa League campaign by fighting back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 in the Russian capital on Wednesday.

Zambia striker Daka, a close-season signing from Salzburg, became only the fifth player to score four goals in a Europa League game since the competition was rebranded from the UEFA Cup, and the first since Willian Jose for Real Sociedad in 2017.

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester moved up to second place in Group C behind leaders Legia Warsaw, a point above third-placed Spartak.

“It’s been an amazing few days for me and the team,” Daka told BT Sport. “It was a very good effort from the team. I’m just happy I was able to help the team.”

Goals from Aleksandr Sobolev and Jordan Larsson put Spartak in control, but Daka netted his first European goal for the visitors just before half-time.

Less than three minutes after the break, Kelechi Iheanacho claimed his second assist, crossing low for Daka to tap in from close range.

Leicester, and Daka, made it three goals in the space of nine minutes when the 23-year-old slid the ball under home goalkeeper Aleksandr Maksimenko.

He completed his four-goal haul with 12 minutes remaining by picking out the corner of the net after collecting James Maddison’s pass.

That goal made Daka, who also netted in Leicester’s 4-2 win over Manchester United on Saturday, the Foxes’ all-time joint-top scorer in Europe.

Sobolev gave Spartak hope in the 86th minute, but Leicester held on.

AFP

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Super Falcons Beat Ghana 2-0 In AFCON Qualifier

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The Super Falcons of Nigeria took a two-goal lead over Ghana’s Black Queens in their Women Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture, thanks to a brace by Sweden-based forward Uchenna Kanu at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on Wednesday.

The visitors had come close in the 11th minute when Grace Animah saw her fierce shot inside the box blocked by Onome Ebi for a corner. But it was much against the run of play and nine minutes later, Nigeria made pressure count when Kanu rose to meet a perfectly-weighted pull-out by Francisca Ordega and nodded past impressive goalkeeper Dumehasi Fafali.

Both teams, knowing the loser on aggregate will be without any major qualifying contest or tournament for the next two-and-half years, threw everything into the clash played behind closed doors on Lagos Island, but it was Nigeria that made the breakthrough again in the 26th minute, when Kanu rose highest in the box to meet Toni Payne’s corner kick and nodded firmly past Fafali and a clutch of watching defenders.

Former junior international Kanu could have added an assist to her impressive tally for the day when she darted past two defenders and squared for Asisat Oshoala, but Fafali foiled any intentions of the Nigeria captain.

Three minutes before recess, Grace Asantewaa unleashed from just outside the box but her shot rose far above goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie’s post.

In the second half, the Black Queens did something in the mould of throwing the kitchen sink at the Super Falcons, harrying, pushing, kicking and running all over to try and reduce the tally and make the second leg in Accra something to look forward to. But veteran defender Onome Ebi, youngster Opeyemi Sunday, Glory Ogbonna and Osinachi Ohale thwarted their efforts.

Grace Asantewaa was again foiled in the 50th minute by Nnadozie, who tipped her rising shot over the sticks. Two minutes later, Oshoala darted past her marker and headed for glory, but was again stopped by Fafali.

Ghana’s captain Portia Boakye was the usual energetic warrior with an uncompromising stance and worked well with Gladys Amfobea, Janet Egyir, and Ellen Coleman to minimize the damage from the Super Falcons.

At the fore, Princella Adubea, Vivian Konadu and Nina Norshie sought vainly to unlock the Nigerian rear.

In the 82nd minute, Fafali was on hand to neutralize a plan cooked by substitute Vivian Ikechukwu, leaving the scoreline still at 2-0. And with a minute to the end, the tireless Princella Adubea waltzed her way into the Nigeria box and found herself face to face with Nnadozie, only to see her close-range bullet parried and then cleared out to safety by Ebi.

Both teams clash again on Sunday at the Accra Sports Stadium, as from 4pm Ghana time (5pm Nigeria time), with the winner on aggregate qualifying for the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations holding in Morocco next year summer.

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Gunmen Abduct 13 Travellers In Niger

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The Niger police command, on Wednesday, said 13 travellers were abducted by gunmen at Konar Barau village in Rafi LGA of the state.

Monday Kuryas, Niger commissioner of police, confirmed the incident in an interview with NAN in Minna, the state capital.

According to Kuryas, the divisional police officer (DPO) of Zungeru reported that one Mubarak Idris of Kwanawa village, Sokoto state, reported the matter to the police “at about 1530 hours”.

Idris, identified as the driver of a bus with registration number LGT 12 XWX, was said to have been conveying 18 passengers from Yauri in Kebbi state, when the incident occurred.

The travellers, mostly fishermen, were said to be on their way to Yenagoa in Bayelsa state, when they were attacked.

The police said Idris reported that on getting to a sharp bend at Konar Barau along the Tegina-Minna road, some “suspected bandits in military uniform” attacked the vehicle and took away 13 passengers and his “motor boy”.

The driver also said the gunmen dispossessed him of N131,500.

Speaking on the development, the police commissioner said a manhunt for the victims has commenced.

He also urged residents to come forward if they have useful information that can lead to the arrest of the gunmen.

“We appeal to residents to volunteer reliable information that could aid in apprehending miscreants in the state,” he said.

“We are doing everything humanly possible to ensure the protection of lives and property in our area of supervision.

“All we require from residents is vital intelligence information that could aid the security personnel deployed across the state on movement of dubious characters in their midst for necessary security action.”

The development comes months after over 100 pupils were abducted from Salihu Tanko Islamiyya school, located in the same LGA where the travellers were kidnapped.

The children regained their freedom after spending 16 weeks with their abductors, but six of the pupils died in captivity.

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