The Social Investment Programme (SIP) in Taraba is to refund over N22.25 million unclaimed funds from the school feeding programme to the Federal Government.

Beatrice Kitchener, the Taraba Focal Person for the programme, disclosed this in Jalingo while reacting to reports of alleged sharp practices involving officials of the programme in the state.

According to her, money paid into bank accounts of some vendors, who registered in the ongoing school feeding programme but never showed up, have been lying unattended to in the bank for months without anybody coming over to withdraw ithem.

Ms Kitchener said that efforts had been made to contact the supposed owners of the accounts through the information provided during the account opening in the bank to no avail.

She said the situation informed the decision to contact the national office of the programme to provide an account where the money would be refunded.

“We have gathered all the money lying unattended to in the bank and we realised over N22.2 million.

“So, instead of allowing the bank to be trading with the money and making profit, we decided to contact the national office on what to do with the money.

“We are now waiting for the account which they will direct us to pay the money into, it’s not that there is fraud anywhere.

“The checks put in place are such that nobody can steal money from the programme, besides we don’t deal with cash, all monies are paid directly into the vendors’ accounts,” she said.

Ms Kitchener lauded the Federal Government for the initiative, saying that many of the vendors who were found wanting in one way or the other had been dismissed.

She said that checks had been put in place to ensure the success of the programme in the state.

“I want to thank the Federal Government for the initiative and the Taraba Government for the support toward the programme.

“The objective of the school feeding programme has been achieved as the state has recorded increase in school enrollment.

“As at last count, over 329,956 pupils were being fed daily in the state,” she said.

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