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NITDA did not receive N1bn project fund from NCC – Official

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The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has refuted report that it had received the sum of N1 billion from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

An online newspaper (not THE WITNESS) had published an article claiming that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali-Pantami, had directed the NCC to release the said amount as the fund for a digital learning scheme project.

But in a statement by NITDA’s Head of Corporate Affairs & External Relations, Hadiza Umar, and made available to THE WITNESS on Friday, described the report as “manufactured and malicious facts to malign the personality of the Honourable Minister, the Director-General of NITDA and the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC”.

“For avoidance of doubt, NITDA is not promoting and has never promoted any program with the title “Digital Learning Scheme” and has therefore never received any sum from the NCC for this phantom project or any other project.

“We also wish to state publicly and unequivocally, that NITDA, as all other Federal Public Institutions, has a strict budgeting and accounting process that is reviewed by the oversight committees of the National Assembly. NITDA operates the Treasury Single Account (TSA), primarily designed to enthrone centralised, transparent and accountable revenue management.

“All NITDA’s expenditures go through the rigorous auditing process as required by law under the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. Therefore, if any anomaly such as alleged in this dubious piece published by Sahara Reporters is flagged by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, NITDA and NCC would have been indicted by the Auditor General.

“This is the case of corruption fighting back as a result of the Honourable Minister’s efforts at fighting all elements of corrupt practices within and outside the Ministry and Parastatals under his supervision.

“The public is invited to utilize the Freedom of Information Framework to seek to know the truth on any transaction or records of NITDA that can be made public by the operation of the Freedom of Information Act.

“The author and publishers are therefore given seven (7) days to withdraw this libelous and malicious publication as well as publicly apologize. Failing to do so, the Agency will not hesitate to explore all legal options to bring them before the law and to seek redress for this libelous and malicious publication.

“The Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy has continued to lead the sector remarkably with doggedness and foresight to achieve the mandate of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. His leadership and programs have already started yielding result. More importantly, ICT is now a focal sector for economic diversification as well as a platform to catalyze other sectors such as health, agriculture, security, education and financial services.

“The Honourable Minster has ensured greater harmony, coordination and participation to all Parastatals under the Ministry’s supervision.We are pleased that Mr President, in his speech at the event, recognized these leadership qualities and commended the Honourable Minister

“We use the opportunity to appreciate our sector stakeholders for reaching out to us with outpouring of support and encouragement at this time. We also thank the public for being critical enough to assess falsehood and lies emanating from those who wish to keep Nigeria in perpetual backwardness. We will strive to do our best and execute our mandate for building the skills of Nigerians to thrive in the Digital Economy and to empower our young people to be dynamic, innovative and entrepreneurial.

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