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.
Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Attack Lagos, Abuja
Niger Delta militants under the aegis of Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters have threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lagos State and Abuja .
In a video posted on Tuesday by AIT , members of the group were seen wearing masks and putting on a military uniform .
One of them , who read a statement on behalf of the group , lamented poor implementation of the amnesty programme in the region, saying , “ there are no schools , no potable water , no light , no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy till date” .
He said , “ Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves .
“ They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate ,” a member of the group read from a statement .
“ Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping , and maiming the innocent people of the region.
“ Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government these agencies in place have decided to shortchange our people . Now in our territorial waters , it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage.
“ Don ’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos . As a group committed to giving total liberation to our people , we will destroy the oil facilities both onshore and offshore in no distant time , we will be seen to be crippling the Nigerian economy. ”
Ogun To Arrest Illegal Occupants Of Forest Reserve
The Ogun State government said it would soon start combing its forest reserve to arrest and prosecute illegal occupants .
The State Commissioner for Forestry , Tunji Akinosi , said this while responding to questions from journalists in Abeokuta , the state capital.
Akinosi said the government had written letters to the traditional rulers in the areas asking them to tell the illegal occupants to leave or be arrested .
He said, “ We have asked those that are illegally occupying our lands to leave , and now we are moving to the second stage of combing the areas ourselves and arresting those that are still residents in the reserve. ”
The Commissioner, while speaking on the depleted condition of the forest reserve, said, “ In the last 18 months , this administration has taken the bull by the horn in getting the Imeko and Aworo Forest Reserves back and running .
“ Unfortunately , the depletion did not start right now , it has been there and government this year alone had met twice with the Iledotun project coordinators and had taken 108 ,000 hectares of the forest reserve in Imeko and Aworo for regeneration .
“ We call it LND project , Land Degradation Neutrality project where you bring people of diverse nations to regenerate that place , and I am sure that between now and the next few months , you will see the work that would start there in reclaiming all the land that is there .”
Police Misconduct Responsible For #EndSARS Protests —PSC
The Chairman , Police Service Commission , Musiliu Smith , has attributed the # EndSARS protests to the misconduct of officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
Smith , a former Inspector -General of Police , decried the level of misconduct in the police force saying his office was always inundated with complaints from Nigerians .
The PSC chairman stated this at a retreat with the IG and his police management team , in Abuja on Tuesday .
Smith ’s statement contradicted claims by the Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed that the October protests were instigated by political and religious leaders .
He also said the demonstrations which were subsequently hijacked by hoodlums leading to widespread violence and looting , were aimed at overthrowing the Federal Government .
But puncturing these claims in his first public comment on the incident , the retired IG said, “ We are always having a lot of complaints from the members of the public against police officers. I believe that # EndSARS resulted from serious misconduct of some of our personnel .
“ I want to advise that we review the arrangements we are making for investigating such cases . Let ’s ensure that investigations are thoroughly conducted and whoever is the police officer that has been indicted will be punished according to the law . If we are doing that , some of the public complaints will go down . ”
Smith , who had been at loggerheads with the police leadership on the recruitment of police constables , also admonished IG Mohammed Adamu to work closely with the commission on the recruitment of credible Nigerians into the force.
Smith added that the number of court cases against the police was alarming , stressing that the force may not be able to pay the damages awarded against it .
In his remarks earlier, the IGP noted that the retreat was to bridge the communication gap and engender a better understanding and working relationship between the force and the police service commission .
The Attorney – General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Abubukar Malami , who also spoke at the retreat, harped on the need for a harmonious working relationship among all the agencies of the government .