Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has uncovered massive fraud at the Benue State office of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, which is one of the President Buhari- led APC Social Intervention efforts.
The party has for the purpose of sequential clarity, painstakingly gathered verifiable figures to let the whole world know the actual state of the programme which is evidently bastardized in Benue.
Recall that the 12th tranche of payment by the Federal Government to the Benue Home Grown School Feeding Programme for 20 days feeding was made in the last week of November, 2018.
- The Benue State Government currently has 7,186 cooks also known as ‘food vendors’, feeding 574,880 pupils in public primary schools with 80 pupils attached to each cook. The vendors are expected to feed the pupils on a daily basis with food supplies to cooks made by the state appointed aggregators for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
- Information available to us and verified by cooks drawn from across the state reveals that ALL the cooks participating on the Programme have been undersupplied food items by the aggregators selected by the Benue State Government being;
-SOORICH VENTURES LIMITED(Suppliers Of Local rice)
-YUMMY BLENDS CAFE AND GRILL(Suppliers Of Biscuits)
-RASOMAT GLOBAL RESOURCES(Suppliers of Juice).
- For the present tranche of payment under review, cooks were supplied only two bags of 10kg local rice each to feed 320 pupils (i.e 80 pupils attached to each cook multiplied by four weeks). Whereas, the original calculation paid for by the Federal Government is a 10kg bag of rice to feed 60 pupils which amounts to over 5 bags of 10kg rice, expected to be delivered to each cook to feed 320 pupils for four weeks. Judging from this mischief, over three(3) bags of rice have been allegedly diverted or not supplied by the State Government appointed aggregator, hence, each cook has been cheated by that amount since the value of that quantity of rice has been deducted at source from the cooks account.
- The Juice supplied to complement the Friday snacks, which is of very low quality and nutritional benefit to the child has also been under supplied and proceeds diverted by the supplier. Our findings reveal that one carton of the said juice which contains 40 pieces each was supplied to individual cooks to feed 320 pupils for four weeks. However, eight(8)cartons of juice was the right quantity to be given to each cook but unfortunately, they got only one carton as against the quantity paid for by the cooks from deductions made from their accounts.
- The cooks got only one carton of biscuit containing 144 pieces to feed 320 pupils for four weeks as against two cartons and some pieces. In some local government areas like Ukum, 70 pieces of biscuits were given to the women, while the balance of supplies was converted to cash by the conniving agents of the supplier.
- The Honeywell pasta has also been undersupplied and monies meant for supplies clearly diverted. By the existing mapping precedence set, one(1) pack of spaghetti feeds 5 pupils and a carton of it contains 20 pieces which feeds 100 pupils and over three cartons will be required to feed 320 pupils for four weeks. Surprisingly, the cooks in Benue State got only one carton of 20 packs each to feed the allotted number of pupils for four weeks, a glaring evidence that they have been shortchanged.
- The newly appointed Desk Officers who were nominated by the state office of the Programme have in some local government areas requested the sum of N500 per cook as their ‘Christmas bonus’ before delivering the food items to the cooks albeit incompletely.
- The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme does not have a State Programme Manager in Benue State as stipulated in the implementation manual of the programme hence, the State Focal Person is micro managing the programme by proxy, as against the intendment of the manual. This deliberate breach of laid down procedure is made to benefit the Benue State Government.
- Members of the State Home Grown School Feeding Programme team have only a few days back signed and collected huge sums of money each as proceeds from the fraud emanating from the undersupply of food items to cooks and diversion of funds accruing therefrom.
- The pertinent question that has arisen from this analysis is thus; if payment by the Federal Government was done for four weeks and less than two weeks worth of food items were supplied to the cooks, what has happened to the balance of the food items not supplied and who are the agents of the Government and government appointed aggregators involved in this monumental fraud that has taken place?.
- From the foregoing, our investigations have also revealed that about One Hundred and Twenty Five Million Naira(N125,000,000.00) has been stolen from the cooks by the under supply of local rice, biscuits and juice through the active connivance of state officials.
We invite the National Social Investment Programmes Office, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and indeed other security agencies to beam their lights on the handling of this Programme in Benue State and make attempts to reach out to the cooks across the state to verify these facts and prosecute any and all persons who have actively connived to cheat unsuspecting cooks and our poor children who are the direct beneficiaries of this laudable Programme.
This legacy programme of the All Progressives Congress should not be left unchecked in the hands of those who are bent on raping it to death.
Acting State Publicity Secretary, APC, Benue State