- Nigeria is asking for the whereabouts of N3.8 billion spent on suspended RUGA programme by the Ministry of Agric without authorisation
- The Auditor-General said the Ministry action out of order as it did not get an approval from the presidency the National Assembly
- The Ministry also said it is probing the same amount and expressed shock at the disappearance of the said amount
Nigeria’s Auditor General is asking for the whereabouts of N3.809 billion spent on the suspended Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) scheme without a presidential nod or that of the country’s National Assembly appropriation.
The Tribune reports that the query is part of audit queries given against the ministry in the “Auditor-General for the Federation’s Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended 31st December 2019.”
Probes showed that the Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, gave the report to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Ojo Amos on September 15, 2021.
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NASS swings into action
The Senate and House of Reps Committees on Public Accounts have started questioning the queries.
The RUGA system was introduced in May 2019 to much public opprobrium and had to be suspended in July.
The office of the Auditor-General said the ministry acted in infringement of the presidential order stopping the plan.
Despite the suspension, the ministry went on to initiate and paid out N3.433 billion without getting authorisation.
The query said:
“Ninety-five (95) payment vouchers were raised and paid from RUGA Intervention Fund between 1st August 2019, and13th September 2019, totalling N3,433,984,692.66, and the above payments were initiated and paid without due process after the Presidential directive suspending the RUGA project.”
Money shared to individuals and entities
According to the Auditor Auditor-General, the Agric ministry also gave another N3.75 billion to some people and corporate entities from the RUGA Intervention Fund through 13 payment vouchers without approval.
The report said the amount include N202.7 million and N160 million paid for transport and other expenses.
The ministry of Agric also said it is shocked and it is also investigating.
Legit.ng has reported that the hope of securing a sustainable job in the labour market is not as open as it used to be in the past. And according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a government agency responsible for the publishing of stats in its Q2 report, the unemployment rate in Nigeria is estimated to be 32.5 per cent.
Chronological data projects there is a probability that this figure will increase further in subsequent quarters till 2022 - and even beyond.
With a limited chance of white-collar jobs for the school leavers, Legit.ng notes that Nigerian youths have been reviving interest in agriculture and making it a full-time occupation.