Lazy eyes listen
The Katsina State government has approved N500 million to mobilize people from the state’s local governments to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari.
The approval was conveyed in a letter dated 19 January 2023 and signed by Yahuza Ibrahim for the permanent secretary, Government House.
According to the letter, the funds will be used to mobilize people to welcome the president, who will be in the state from the 26th to the 27th of this month.
“I am directed to refer to your letter No. S/MLGCA/GEN/259/C/IV of 17′′ January, 2023 and to convey His Excellency, the Governor’s approval for the release of N14,695,588.00 to each of the 34 LGCs totaling N499,650,000.00 (Four Hundred and Ninety Nine Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira Only) from the available balance of the 34 LGCs in the Local Government Joint Account
“A photocopy of the approval is attached for your reference. Please forward this letter to the Accountant General of the Ministry of Finance and the Auditor General of Local Government.”
While it was not specified what Mr Buhari would be doing in Katsina for the two days, it was rumored that he would commission some projects, including an underpass on Kofar Kaura and a flyover on Kofar Kwaya built by Governor Aminu Masari.
Abdurahman Sama’ila, a spokesperson for the Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs Ministry, promised to check the letter’s authenticity before responding to this reporter. As of the time of filing this report, he had not done so.
Al Amin Isa, the government house’s director general of new media, did not respond to calls and SMS sent to him on the letter.
According to a civil society organization activist in the state, using taxpayer money to welcome the president is an abuse of public funds.
The money, according to Abdurahman Abdullahi, Chairman of the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in the state, should instead be used to provide basic amenities to the people.
“This is one of the methods by which LGA funds are diverted. It is a case of high-level corruption and waste. It is unfortunate for a state like Katsina, where children are educated on bare floors, access to health care is limited due to a lack of human resources and medical equipment, portable water is inaccessible to many communities, and many other social shortcomings, to withdraw such a large sum in the name of entertainment for the presidential visit.
“This money, if properly utilised, is enough to pay one year allowances for over 4,000 casual workers in the state, provide 500 communities with potable drinking water or fabricate 50,000 desks for our students to learn in a more conducive atmosphere.
“After all, this has clearly demonstrated that everything the government has been saying about LGAs being unable to pay their employees’ salaries due to a lack of funds is false,” Mr Abdullahi said.