Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has ordered a full-scale investigation into the report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) that the N2.67 billion released to the l04 unity colleges during the COVID-l9 lockdown for meals was allegedly diverted to private accounts.

He said the enquiry was to establish the veracity or otherwise of the claim and ensure probity. Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Ben Goong, who made the disclosure yesterday in a statement, said: “In response to queries issued by the Federal Ministry of Education, the principals explained that payments on meal subsidies to unity colleges on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GlF-MIS) platform are designed to accommodate individual officers of those colleges who are officially recognised to receive such payments, and disburse same to food vendors.

“This followed difficulties encountered by farmers, local food vendors and market women who do not have Tax Identification Numbers (TINs), PENCOM and other requirements to access the payment platform.”

He added that the school administrators equally clarified that the funds were used to offset debts arising from irregular and inadequate allocations and releases over the years.

“To this end, the ministry in line with the minister’s directive is to collaborate effectively with officials of the ICPC to unearth the fact, as well as find a lasting solution to the payment system for meal subsidies to ensure accountability and transparency,” the spokesman added.