Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, has told SaharaReporters that reports of plans by President Muhammadu Buhari and her to get married was a ploy by some persons to distract them from the work of governance.
News had gone out in October that President Buhari and Farouq, a long time associate of his, were set to tie the nuptial knots in a high-profile ceremony in Northern Nigeria.
Farouq, a native of Zamfara, who has never been married, said that though she and the retired military general were quite close, having worked closely with him for over 17 years all the while he contested and lost presidential elections, there had never been any romantic affair between them to warrant them getting married.
Farouq, who spoke while reacting to a story published by SaharaReporters on December 25, said that contrary to widespread belief, there was no time that the Presidency reprimanded her over abuse of office.
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported on Wednesday that the Office of the President had chided Farouq over abuse of office and employment of staff beyond the financial capacity of the ministry.
She was said to have refused to approve the payment for the National Home Grown School Feeding Program for Lagos, Imo, Kogi and Benue states, leading to the stoppage of the planned commencement of the programme in Lagos in October 2019.
According to SaharaReporters exclusive report, staff of the ministry also lamented Farouq’s overbearing exercise of power, claiming that she runs the ministry like an emperor.
According to inside source, the Presidency was shocked to learn of how she runs the affairs of the ministry and sent a senior officer to call her to order.
Sources revealed that Farouq has employed under her services retinue of support staff and aides beyond the allowances and approval of the government.
“She is technically servicing the emolument and allowances of the aides through funds of the agency, since she is unable to get approval of parliament of executive for such unprecedented number of aides.
“The Presidency was stunned to discover that she has employed and contracted such staff as Chief of Staff (who was a former NIA agent ), Deputy Chief of Staff, Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants.
“These are way far beyond any other official of government except the President,” sources revealed.
It was gathered that Farouq denied the act when confronted with the allegations, claiming that the individuals “only chose to address themselves by the appellation and it wasn’t with her blessing”.
She was subsequently reprimanded for exposing government offices and appointments to whims and caprices of unauthorised persons.
As a means of cautioning her, the Presidency placed the minister under strict monitoring to avoid her causing the government unexpected embarrassment.
Recall that she had also refused to approve payment for N-power beneficiaries for the month of October and November, prompting the intervention of the Presidency before the beneficiaries were paid.
Since taking full control of the program, Farouq has since refused to release funds for the operation, impress, allowances and payment for services at the expense of different beneficiaries of programmes.
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