Monday, August 3, 2020 1:24 pm
A non-governmental group, Forum for Good Governance (FGG) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately set in motion the process of unbundling the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
The group, in a statement by its convener, Ugochukwu Ezekiel Hanks, Esq on Wednesday said the recent controversies surrounding the so-called ‘super ministry’ have shown that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiyya Sadiya Farouq lacked the capacity to manage the octopus entity she has been saddled with.
The group noted that the latest of such controversies was the ongoing probe of the North-East Development Commission, NEDC, one of the agencies under the Ministry by the House of Representatives over allegation that the Minister connived with the managing director of the commission to mismanage N100 billion through a series of frivolous spending.
“While it is too early to declare the minister and the managing director guilty of the allegations against them, the FGG noted that there have been similar controversies about the management of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme, especially the N-Power and the Home Grown School Feeding Programme. The group recalled the controversies that characterized the implementation of the home grown programme even when pupils were not in school recently.
“For the N-Power programme, it has been one controversy or the other since the Minister took over the management. While the first and second batch volunteers of the N-Power Programme have been complaining that their allowances have not been paid even as they are being disengaged, the process of enrolment of new intakes have also been marred by controversies and alleged corruption.
“It’s therefore clear that if the objective of bringing the social investment programmes under the Minister was to ensure efficiency, that goal is far from being achieved. There are also insinuations that the Minister is virtually running the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, which should be under the supervision of the office of the Vice President statutorily.
“Stripping the Vice President of the powers to supervise NEMA, the National Boundary Commission and other agencies is a clear violation of the laws establishing the agencies and the Nigerian Constitution,” FGG said.
The group further noted that those who conceived and championed the creation of the ‘super ministry’ did not properly consider the organizational structure, especially, the status of the heads of MDAs now mandated to be reporting to the Ministry.
According to the group, a Special Adviser to the President like Mrs Maryam Uwais should ordinarily report to the President due to the nature of the assignment of that office. The same can be said of the head of the office of the senior special assistant to the President on SDGs where the head has the same status.
“It is an open secret that there is disquiet over the activities of the minister in many of the agencies now packed under her, even as tales of corrupt allegations continue to circulate in the public domain. As the head of a government that listed the fight against corruption as one of its major agenda, we urge the President to immediately begin the process of unbundling this ministry to avoid further embarrassment,” the group said.