Thursday, December 8, 2022

ICPC unveils technology to uncover fraud in school feeding programme

The ministry claims it expends N999 million daily to feed 10 million pupils enrolled in the programme.

• September 3, 2022
Bolaji Owasanoye and Sadiya Umar-Faruk
Bolaji Owasanoye and Sadiya Umar-Faruk

Three demo hacking solutions have been presented by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as a digital answer to corruption in government school feeding programmes.

The hacking solutions were chosen out of the seven presented by innovators during the commission’s Illicit Financial Flows Hackathon is an initiative.

The Hackathon was organised in conjunction with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) with support of the Ford Foundation, West Africa, on Friday in Abuja.

Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, the ICPC chair said at the unveiling that the use of technology is crucial to the success of the fight against corruption and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

“We all listened to the solutions provided by these young innovators. The demo hacking solutions will be interrogated further, fine-tuned and a demo will be developed and followed by a test run,” Mr Owasanoye said.

“Appropriate technology deployment will give law enforcement agencies, administrators and regulators of the process adequate leverage to know what school feeding funds were being used for.”

Mr Owasanoye assured that the anti-corruption agency, NITDA and Ford Foundation would further work on the demo hacking solutions presented by the young innovators.

In his remarks, the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, said the innovative ideas would assist in the realisation of the objectives of the digital transformation agenda of the government.

The Regional Director, Ford Foundation, West Africa, Dr Chichi Aniagolu said they were excited about the Hackathon idea because of its importance to the fight against corruption in the country.

She commended the ICPC for initiating the project, saying it would boost the fight against corruption.

The young innovators had been tasked to come up with clearly defined ideas and prototype solutions to checkmate IFFs with emphasis on leveraging emerging technologies.

The winners, E-procure; Expose Solution; and IFFMER received N1.5 million, N1 million and N500,000 cash prize, respectively.

Israel Tijani of E-procure in an interview explained that the platform was built on block chain technology to decentralise procurement processes in MDAs.

“We all know that IFFs happened during the procurement stages of government executing contracts.

“But with E-procure platform, that is about to change because government will be able to involve every stakeholder from procurement to contracting.

“This, I believe, will narrow down the processes in procurement engagement with contractors,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to ICPC and NITDA for reaching out to homegrown innovators to proffer solutions to challenges facing the School Feeding Programme.

“I am impressed that ICPC and NITDA are looking into homegrown innovators like me instead of taking this to advanced countries to source for innovators.

“We have enough potential in the country that can leverage on the emerging technologies to bring about the Nigeria of our dreams,” he added. 

The homegrown school feeding programme is a federal government initiative run by the ministry of humanitarian affairs under Sadiya Umar-Farouq.

The ministry claims it expends N999 million daily to feed 10 million pupils enrolled in the programme.


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