The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday, May 10; called on the Federal Government to show transparency, accountability and probity in its school feeding programme.
SERAP made this statement in the aftermath of a disclosure last Wednesday; by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management and Social Development; Sadia Umar-Farouk; that government would start feeding school children in their homes during the COVID-19 crisis; starting from Ogun and Lagos states, as well as Abuja.
Subsequently, in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request; SERAP demanded “the authorities to urgently publish details of the suppliers and contractors, the procurement rules, including bidding processes; the total budget, and all designated voucher distribution and collection sites for the implementation of the school feeding programme at home.”
It also wants to know the number of cases of states to be covered during the COVID-19 crisis; the projected spending per state; details of the mechanisms and logistics that have been put in place to carry out the programme; as well as the role expected to be played by the World Food Programme.
SERAP had requested the government in an appeal dated 9 May 2020 and sent to Umar-Farouk to “urgently invite the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor the implementation of the programme.”
The statement reads in part: “Publishing the details requested is in the public interest. This would help to address public scepticism regarding the ability of the government to satisfactorily implement the programme, promote openness, and allow Nigerians to track its implementation and to hold suppliers and contractors to account.
“SERAP notes that the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party requires the government to set the highest standards of transparency, accountability and probity in programmes that it oversees.
“The government has a responsibility to ensure that these requirements and other anti-corruption controls are fully implemented and monitored, and to ensure that the programme benefits the children and families who need it the most.”