Reps Demand Accountability as Minister Faces Scrutiny Over N1.5 Billion Diverted Funds

The House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development engaged in a heated exchange with the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy, over the alleged diversion of N1.5 billion earmarked for contractor payments within the ministry.

Reps Demand Accountability as Minister Faces Scrutiny Over N1.5 Billion Diverted Funds

During an investigative hearing, the committee sought answers regarding funds disbursed by the accountant-general’s office. The minister acknowledged that 30% of the total sum meant for contractors had been allocated to her ministry. However, she claimed ignorance about its utilization due to advice from First Lady Oluremi Tinubu to “mind her business.”

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Committee members questioned the minister’s lack of awareness regarding funds allocated to her ministry. She attributed this to delayed project disbursements in the current year, hindering her ability to settle liabilities.

The spotlight then shifted to the African First Lady Peace Mission project, which received substantial funding over the years: N500 million in 2020, N225 million in 2021, N500 million in 2022, and N150 million in 2023. Committee member Marie Nenemete Ebikake pressed the minister for details: How was the money utilized? Where was the project located, and who were the key players?

The minister’s response revealed that the N150 million allocated in 2023 had been directed to former First Lady Aisha Buhari. According to her, Aisha clarified that the funds were intended for purchasing a generator. The process involved coordination with a retired procurement officer, adhering to procurement regulations.

However, committee members expressed surprise when the minister couldn’t identify the contractors responsible for executing the African First Lady Peace Mission project. Her explanation centered on focusing on her work, leaving the project details to the First Lady.

Transparency and accountability remain paramount as the committee seeks answers and holds officials responsible for public funds .