As a fall out of the fire incident that recently gutted the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, the Federal Government has denied news making the rounds that it lost the sum of N700 billion COVID-19 relief funds to the incident.
This information was contained in a Twitter post from the official handle of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, which was shared in the early hours of Friday, April 10, 2020.
The Finance Ministry said that the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, did not attend any press conference or interview where she made such claims. While describing that piece of information as fake news, the Finance Ministry noted that no money was lost as a result of the fire incident. It was also clarified that the total donations that have so far been received towards the Covid-19 relief fund are less than N30 billion. The
“The general public should take note. Zainab Ahmed did not grant a press conference or any interviews. No funds were lost in the fire at the Accountant General’s Office which was contained in two rooms. Donations are under N30 billion to date. this is pure mischief and should be disregarded.’’
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Backstory; It could be recalled that on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, a fire outbreak occurred at the capital unit of the Treasury House where the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is located. The capital unit is where all the capital releases to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of government are made. The fire incident started on the third floor was later put off by men of the Federal Fire Service about 2 hours later.
Following this incident, some sections of the media reported that the Finance Minister granted a press interview where she stated that the government lost N700 billion COVID-19 relief funds as a result of the fire. It was also claimed that the funds were meant for the Southeast and Southwest parts of the country.
Perhaps this reinforces the calls for reforms and stricter regulations by the government aimed at curtailing the high incidents of fake news dissemination through the controversial social media bill which is currently before the National assembly.