The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has alleged that leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some officials in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration are planning to steal N13.5bn through the school feeding programme.
In a statement issued on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Olongbondiyan, the PDP said claims by the federal government to feed school children while schools were closed were racketeering taken too far.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the school feeding claims by the Federal Government, even when schools are shut due to Covid-19 pandemic, is a huge scam and a scheme by corrupt All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders and some officials in the Buhari Presidency to siphon a targeted N13.5 billion public funds to finance their wasteful lifestyle.
“The party describes the use of innocent school children as cover to steal and funnel not less than N679 million daily to private purses as sacrilegious, wicked and completely unpardonable.
“While it is clear that the APC-led administration’s school feeding programme had always been a scam, the claims to feed school children even when schools are closed is a collosal racketeering taken too far.
“This goes to further expose that stealing and corruption are deeply engrained in the DNA of the APC and its administration.
“While the PDP has nothing against any transparent effort to provide succor to Nigerians, particularly our children, at this critical time, our party rejects the on-going fraud in which school children, who are in their respective homes, bearing the brunt of the failures of the APC administration, are being used as metaphors to divert public funds to a few corrupt individuals in the Buhari Presidency.
“Nigerians are witnesses to how the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Umar Farouq, had always stammered, makes conflicting pronouncements and points to Mr. President’s speech as a cover each time Nigerians demand for details of her humongous spending.
“The minister had failed to provide details of how she intends to reach the 9.7 million school children, who are now in their homes in different locations since the closure of schools, even as officials continue to muddle up required documentations in a bid to cover their tracks.
“Nigerians are invited to note how the minister contradicted herself in claiming that the food would be shared door-to door and in the same breath, averred that vouchers would be allocated at specific collection times to “avoid overcrowding”.
“Such contradiction only betrays an unwholesome tendency, as Nigerians wonder how there would be overcrowding on door-to-door distribution of food to children who are claimed to have been individually designated in various locations.
“Our party notes that critical stakeholders in the education sector, including the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and Concerned Parents and Educators (CPE) had also raised queries over this fraudulent scheme, which is already going the way of the N500 billion Social Investment Programme of the Buhari administration which the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, had earlier exposed as a huge scam.
“The PDP is worried that with the constant reference to President Buhari’s speech, it is clear that unscrupulous officials are cashing in on the situation to fleece the nation.
“If these officials indeed mean well for the school children, they should hand over the funds to the ministry of education in the respective states for appropriate dispensation to properly identified and documented vulnerable children.
“Our party therefore urges President Buhari to take urgent steps to end the corruption that has pervaded his administration, particularly the use of innocent Nigerians as cover to steal public funds.”