The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster management as the single most notorious cesspool of corruption and lack of transparency and accountability in over 60 Years of the nation’s Independence.
Alleging that the ministry is a cash guzzling machine and a financial disaster, the Rights group said the minister in charge of that disastrous ministry of government must be made to render proper accounts of how her ministry reportedly claimed to have blown away billions of public fund to feed SCHOOL Children during the three Months of Covid-19 lockdown when clearly the school Children were all at homes in different parts of the Country. This despicable and opaque feeding programme happened despite a groundswell of well informed opposition to the disastrous idea only because the executioners had allegedly choreographed the primitive ways of allegedly siphoning public funds under the guise of feeding ghost school children. “If we are wrong, the minister should prove us wrong with facts and figures for all to see and judge.”
The Rights group said the Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq should be asked by NIGERIANS to provide clarification on the claim making waves in the social and online media credited to her as stating that her ministry delivered palliatives to each and every Nigerian just as the Rights group said the minister may face litigation if she refuses to clarify this bogus claim that is attributed to her which to all intents and purposes is not just false but is totally and substantially dubious, deceptive, criminally and deeply annoying.
HURIWA has therefore averred that: “It is totally absurd and completely unprovable that Nigeria spends N679m daily to feed school Children. This political and morally tainted bogus claim is one of the most insensitive lies to have been told by any politician because this is clearly false since experts have told us with abundant scientifically empirical evidence that 50% under-five children are malnourished in all parts of Nigeria and especially in majority of the North East of Nigeria.
“HURIWA has seen scientific indications that have emerged that Nigeria might have higher increase in under-five mortality at this critical health emergency time of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, owing to what they termed as gross disruptions in health services and rise in preventable childhood killer diseases like malnutrition just as these scientists stated that already, high number of children are suffering the consequences of poor diets and a food system that is failing them, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. If this is the situation, where then is the justification of the claim that the current Federal Ministry of Humanitarian and Disaster management spends huge amount of money on the school feeding programme, currently put at N679m [$1,739,881.82] daily, because clearly from all available indices and practical proofs, many under-five children in the country are still malnourished, with COVID-19 pandemic compounding the problem.”
“HURIWA totally disputes the bogus claims made also by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who, had, in 2018, said the Home Grown School Feeding Programme was aimed at increasing school enrolment and tackling malnutrition in children and affirmed that at current numbers, the Federal Government spends more than $1.8m every day on the National School Feeding Programme. He also said $183m had so far been invested in the programme. Osinbajo was quoted as saying more than nine million primary school pupils were benefitting across 26 states where the programme had taken effect. The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development announced controversially in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown that it would commence the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme on Thursday, May 14, 2020. It said the programme, which would ensure the provision of food ration to schoolchildren at home, would begin in Abuja and subsequently in Lagos and Ogun states before it would be extended to other states.
HURIWA is by this media communication inviting the minister for a publicly covered debate this Wednesday with HURIWA SO NIGERIANS CAN BE TOLD WHAT AMOUNT THIS GOVERNMENT SPENT FEEDING SCHOOL CHILDREN WHO WERE DISPERSED AND ON HOLIDAYS DURING THE LOCKDOWN. HURIWA WANTS TO SHOW NIGERIANS THAT THE MINISTRY OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS MAY HAVE FED GHOSTS and claimed to have fed real Children. This minister should be bold enough to accept this invitation for a public debate which we will host at a good venue in Abuja”.
HURIWA said the claims of feeding school children and the entire implementation of the SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME is a fraud because the State of the World’s Children 2019 and the Children, Food and Nutrition Report tells us that in Nigeria, five in 10 children under-five are malnourished (stunted, wasted or overweight); while three in 10 children aged six to 23 months live on poor diets. According to the report, which provides most comprehensive assessment of child malnutrition in all its forms, 13.1 million children in Nigeria are stunted or too short for their age, while 2.9 million are wasted, or too thin for their height. With the burden of child malnutrition and under-five deaths still alarming in Nigeria, a new report by UNICEF shows that COVID-19 would worsen the situation if urgent actions are not taken. According to the report released recently , Nigeria could lose an additional 950 more under-five children every day due to preventable causes over the next six months as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts routine healthcare services and threatens to weaken the health system. In a landmark report released on February 19 by a Commission convened by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and The Lancet, Nigeria ranked in the bottom 10 for performance on child flourishing. The ranking, titled, ‘A Future for the World’s Children?’ is based on factors including measures of child survival and well-being such as health, education, nutrition, equity and income gaps. The global index of 180 countries had compared performance on child flourishing, with Nigeria ranking 174th out of 180 countries, below Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and South Sudan”.
HURIWA has therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the National Assembly to realise that history will be unkind to them for failing to stop widespread corruptions that have characterised the implementation of the so called SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME and the School Feeding PROGRAMME which is at best the best known CESSPOOL OF CORRUPTION AND ABUSE OF OFFICE.