House Of Reps Queries Minister For Spending N45m On New Year Party, N20m On Sanitary Pads

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday interrogated the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye over the non-payment of N1.5billion to contractors in spite of the fund release in Abuja.

The lawmakers led by Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs also queried the Minister for spending unrelated expenditures which include N45 million for a New Year party, N20million for sanitary pads and N1.5million for vehicle fuel.

According to the News agency of Nigeria, Kafilat said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and officials of the ministry.

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The committee also investigated alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor’s payments, following a petition from contractors, and also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5billion meant for contractor payments.

However, the minister denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

A tense confrontation unfolded on Tuesday afternoon as the House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development, led by Kafilat Ogbara, engaged in a heated debate with the minister.

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The committee had summoned the minister to address allegations of corruption and the alleged diversion of N1.5billion meant for contractor payments.

The hearing quickly escalated into a shouting match, with both sides exchanging accusations and counter-accusations.

The contractors had previously petitioned the committee, claiming they had not been paid for completed work.

The exchange highlighted the intense scrutiny and accountability efforts by the legislative branch.

The video shared on x.com on Wednesday by TheCable showed Ogbara and Kennedy-Ohanenye exchanging accusations.

“What was appropriated for 2023 from the accountant-general’s office, was it released to the account of the ministry of women affairs? Yes or no?” Ogbara asked.

Marie Ebikake, another member of the committee, accused the minister of sidelining staff of the ministry.

“Mister DFA I am at a loss because fortunately, I attended the last meeting and one of the reasons why we took you on oath was to get the truth from you and today you have deviated.

“You have deviated because you did say, yes there was release of money and you take instructions from your principal and there and then I confronted Permanent Secretary. He said he was not in the known. I am still making my statement that you are running the ministry with your minister – both of you…,” Ebikake said, before she was interrupted by the minister.

“I take exception to this. I don’t like this allegation. I don’t want it I am no slave to anybody,” Kennedy-Ohanenye who was visibly angry said. And insisted “She should withdraw that statement she said about me. It is not fairness here. It is a trap but I am not going to jump into it. I fear nothing… nothing!!”

 

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