Photo: Engineer Utaan Conrad Terhide
The allegations of fraud against the Benue state office of the National Social Investment Programme headed by its Focal Person, Engineer Utaan Conrad Terhide MNSE, MNIEEE, are nothing but a pure political persecution if one has to consider everything in the claims of the accusers, our two weeks independent investigation has revealed.
It had been alleged many times that some Desk Officers are extorting monies from unsuspecting cooks who are engaged by the agency, NSIP, for the Homegrown School Feeding Programme in the state but our independent investigations have not found the Focal Person, Engineer Terhide, wanting. This means that he has never been involved the said illegal extortion.
Just on Wednesday, 23rd May, 2018, the Benue state Focal Person of NSIP, Terhide, issued a statement which should make any reasonable human being to understand that he has been leading the agency in line with the policies of the office of the vice president of the federation.
That statement, after a critical analysis ,tends to convince doubting Thomases that the Focal Person is doing the job without indulging in any act of corruption as being alleged by some people who appear not to like the policies of the agency.
It was alleged that the agency was making some deductions for rice. It was also alleged that the Benue state First Lady, Dr. Eunice Ortom, was having a shady involvement in this but parts of our investigation showed that the allegations are not true as neither the governor nor his wife is involved in the affairs of the NSIP in Benue state.
During our investigation, it was discovered that the allegation that the governor’s wife was extorting money from cooks participating on the Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Benue State was untrue as no one between her and her husband authorizes payment of monies to participants. According to our findings, it was just a way to divert the attention of Benue people and Nigerians as a whole from the positive achievement of the NSIP in Benue state.
During our investigation which was not in any way interfered with or manipulated by any of the parties concerned, (Accusers and Accused), it was gathered that funding to beneficiaries of the programme and payment to suppliers of products such as local rice, pasta, biscuit and juice is done centrally by the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) in Abuja.
“The rice currently been supplied to cooks is done based on the pupil figure allocated to individual schools and it is at a cost of Forty Two Naira (N42) per child per day and checks will reveal that this is much cheaper than what obtains in the open market. So the allegation that Thirty Thousand Naira (N30,000) is deducted for rice from each cook’s account unfounded” Mr. Dan Aja, a media aide to Utaan Terhide, earlier said in one of his statements.
Also on the allegation that Sterling Bank in Makurdi has joined the Benue office of the NSIP to shortchange food vendors has been found to be untrue during our investigation.
This is just as allegations that the agency is freezing bank accounts of food vendors have also been found to be a false alarm targeted to rubbish the good job of the NSIP in Benue and Nigerian as a whole.
Our investigation indicated that the National Social Investments Programme Office in any state of the federation has no power to approve or disburse monies to beneficiaries of these programmes to prevent corruption asit was obtained in the past.
Our investigation further revealed that the allegation that cooks’ accounts were frozen after being credited by the Federal Government for tranche 7 was very untrue.
According to findings, the only cooks who had problems were those that were indicted by the reports submitted by the Monitoring and Evaluation teams sent out by the state government to monitor the implementation of the Home Grown School Feeding Programme in all public primary schools in the state.
Our investigators also investigated reports which said that a certain N2,000 was being paid by each food vendor to buy gifts for the Focal Person, Mr. Terhide, but some of the people we interviewed at the agency’s office in Makurdi said the allegation was untrue. The added that the Focal Person has even ordered for an inquiry into the allegation with a clear threat to sanction any Desk Officer that is found wanting over that.
On the allegation regarding the payment for the Cooking utensils loan, our investigators gathered that no NSIP office in any part of the country is directly or indirectly involved as the only the Ministries of Finance of all the states that are benefiting from the Scheme that handles that. ……..To Be Continued (Source Nigerian Concord)