The 11 electoral wards in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State are currently boiling following the alleged discovery that almost the sum of N3m is being fraudulently deducted from the monthly allocation being granted for the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP.
The NHGSFP is a Federal Government project meant to empower women and ameliorate the feeding challenges of children in primary and secondary schools across the country.
Investigations revealed that there are 148 food vendors, all women, and they are locally sourced across the 11 wards of the LGA. Among the vendors, the figure of payment is not really the same. Some are paid N105, 000k, N140, 000k, and N190,000k; just as there is also one or two of them who equally collect N200,000k.
The payment, according to sources, were based on the population of the schools in a particular ward.
Routine check stated that Madam Chika Ibekwe, served as SSA to Governor Hope Uzodimma on Owerri Zone Community Relations, who eventually emerged the Coordinator for Ngor-Okpala LGA.
An account has it that for about three consecutive months now, Ibekwe has allegedly been extorting between N10,000k and N20,000k from the 148 food vendors in the LGA.
It was alleged that Ibekwe used one Mrs Georgenia Onyeulor as her agent or collector.
Onyeulor is the APC Woman Leader in Ngor Okpala.
When contacted, Ibekwe denied the allegations.
She noted that the accusations were coming from her political enemies who do not want her to succeed.
She said, “Those making this allegation are not on ground. First, we had 148 vendors in the beginning. But now, more than 45 are no longer participating. This is because some have died, some have left the state and some have issues with their respective accounts.
“Now, the truth of the matter is that we are planning an event at the state level and decided to host ourselves, to know ourselves better and also be uniform as a union.
So, we tasked every one of the vendors N20, 000k. Some agreed to pay, few didn’t contribute and we never disturbed them. That is all I know. To allege that this has been going on for three months now is not true”.
Many of the food vendors when reached agreed there was such a directive to pay a certain amount of money which they frowned at.
Few noted that they were approached but braced the odds not pay anything.
What is even more disturbing is the allegation that in some months food were not cooked or supplied to schools as the allocations were just shared between the food vendors and Ibekwe; while at some other times, the half of the food was supplied.
Again, Ibekwe and Onyeulor denied this.
The APC family in Ngor-Okpala are calling on all the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this matter as it has the propensity of bringing the party to disrepute.