From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Zamfara State Government has reacted to stories of the sum of N2. 9 billion spent on the provision of Ramadan palliatives in the state, insisting that it had followed due process.
Zailani Bappa, Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications, said in a statement on Sunday that the information rightly emanated from the speech read by Governor Bello Mohammed ,Matawallen Maradun, in a statewide broadcast to mark the end of the fasting period and to wish Muslims a stress free Sallah celebration.
According to the statement, “Indeed, the Governor made mention of the said figures as palliatives cost during the period in question, but a breakdown of how that figure was arrived at did not reflect in the speech which is drawing a lot of criticisms from the general public. Hence, the need for immediate clarification.”
He explained that the state government actually spent the sum of N1,100, 000, 000 in the provision of foodstuff, purchase of cooking materials and ingredients and in the payment of cooks for the supply of food twice daily in all the selected feeding centers across the state throughout the one month period of the Ramadan.
However, he said that, “the balance is not actually an amount spent but represents the cost of foodstuff acquired for civil servants in the state of which the state government stood as guarantor. In repayment of the cost of the foodstuff by the benefitting civil servants, the state government will subsidise the cost by offsetting a fraction of the cost of the items supplied.
“Hence, the figure of N1,100,000,000 is the actual amount of money spent by the state Government during the festive period to ease the fasting of all citizens of the state, especially under the current pandemic of covid-19.”
Meanwhile, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle has relaxed the lockdown order and directed the immediate re-opening of all markets in the state for night transactions.
The governor in a state wide broadcast said the development was in line with his administration’s sympathy to allow Muslim faithful in the state purchase commodities and other essential materials so as to conduct Sallah celebrations with relative ease.
Matawalle said those in business be allowed to continue with their transactions and business activities.
The governor ordered security agencies in the state to ensure a hitch free Sallah celebration.