Yusuf Akinpelu

In a series of disbursements between September and December last year, a total of N3.08 billion was paid into the private accounts of 42 staffers of the ministry of agriculture, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

The payments were reported by the open treasury portal (OTP), the federal government’s transparency portal it launched last year to ensure fiscal discipline among MDAs.

PREMIUM TIMES observed that several fund disbursements by the nation’s agriculture headquarters were done through duplicated payments, some for similar purposes to some staffers.

Of the amount paid within the last quarter of 2019 by the agriculture ministry, Zainab Bala and Mohammed Lawan received the largest share. They respectively received N255.35 million and N246.3 million in total.

N81.3 million of Mr Lawan’s share, according to the OTP, was paid to him in advance to organize the 44th meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development slated for Jos from 22nd to 27th March this year. The payments should have been wired directly to suppliers and service providers, and it remains unclear while such a huge sum was made to pass through the personal account of a staff member.

On the other hand, Ms Bala was paid in two tranches, first N125 million and then N130 million each to be used for the same purpose: which is for the “preliminary operational commencement of the newly established Federal University of Agriculture, Zuru, Kebbi State.”

The same month, and for the same purpose as Ms Bala’s, the duo of Aisha Ahmed and Dipnap Nandom Stephen respectively received N100 million and N145 million. This is N500 million all targeted to execute a single job.

Also, both Abdulrahman Ibrahim (who was paid N171.4 million in the entire four months) and Ndakotsu Amina (who received N174.29 million in all) were each paid N20.69 million twice in the same month for the same purpose: “for the training of two batches of chefs by the national centre for women development.”

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