Nigeria Senate probes diversion of rice farmers’ loans to elections

The Senate has asked the Nigerian Army, Office of the National Security Adviser, the Independent National Electoral Commission and other federal agencies to submit details of the multi-billion naira loans they got from the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Details of the funds disbursement were contained in a document by the Auditor- General for the Federation, currently being scrutinised by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts.

The AuGoF claimed in the document that the money, running into billions of naira, was disbursed to the affected government agencies, military and security agencies in form of loans.

The money, according to the document, was actually levy imposed on some imported food items meant to develop local rice production in the country.

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The auditor general said the money was meant to be distributed as loans to local rice farmers but that part of the money was diverted to prosecute elections.

Heads of the federal agencies who appeared before the Senate panel confirmed that they got the money but that it was not given to them as loans, contrary to what the audit query indicated.

Rather, they said the money was approved for them for different purposes including logistics during elections.

The Chairman of SPAC, Mathew Urhoghide, has asked the beneficiaries to forward details of how the money was spent, before the end of this week.

Urhoghide, in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja promised Nigerians that his committee would get to the root of the matter.

 The Office of the Accountant General of Federation, represented by Mr Segun Fehintola had claimed in its report that the N500m was used to buy security equipment in 2013.

 But the representatives of Office of the National Security Adviser said the N500m was used during the Anambra State governorship election. Punch

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