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Court Orders Ex-minister To Account For N729bn Poverty Alleviation Fund

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Court Orders Ex-minister To Account For N729bn Poverty Alleviation Fund
Sadiya Umar Farouq

A federal high court in Lagos has ordered Sadiya Umar Farouq, former minister of humanitarian affairs, to account for payments of N729 billion to 24.3 million vulnerable Nigerians.

Umar Farouq was minister from 2019 to 2023 in the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a judgment delivered by Deinde Dipeolu on June 27, Farouq was ordered to provide the list and details of the beneficiaries who received the payments, the number of states covered and the payments per state.

The ruling followed a freedom of information request from the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

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In the certified true copy of the judgment provided by Kolawole Oluwadare, deputy director of SERAP, the judge said:

“I therefore grant an order of mandamus directing and compelling the Respondent to provide the following information to the Applicant:

“Details of the proposed payments of N729 Billion to 24.3 million Nigerians for six months, including mechanisms and logistics put in place for the payments and list of beneficiaries.

“Details of how the proposed beneficiaries have been selected, the number of states covered and the projected payments per state.

“State whether the payments will be made in cash, through Bank Verification Numbers or other means.

“Explain the rationale for paying N5,000 to 24.3 million poor Nigerians, which translate to five percent of Nigeria’s budget of N13.6 trillion for 2021.”

In December, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) invited the former minister over the alleged laundering of N37 billion by one James Okwete, a contractor who worked with the ministry.

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