The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has called on the Federal Government to make public the total budget earmarked for its home feeding programme.
Since schools in Nigeria remain shut, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disasters Management, and Social Development, Ms. Sadiya Umar-Farouq, announced that the government would start feeding schoolchildren in their homes.
However, SERAP, in a Freedom of Information request, asked the government to publish details of the suppliers and contractors, the procurement rules, including bidding processes, and all designated voucher distribution and collection sites for the implementation of the school feeding programme at home.
Furthermore, the group requested information on the number 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 said: “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.
“Publishing the details of suppliers and contractors and the procurement rules being implemented for executing the school feeding programme at home would also remove the risks of conflicts of interest and politicization of the programme, as well as promote transparency and accountability.”
The organization also wanted the government to establish an online national database for all suppliers and contractors responsible for carrying out the programme to feed school children in their homes, which is expected to cover over three million households in Lagos and Ogun states, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
It added, “We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered
Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions under the
Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.”