By Alao Abiodun
An inner memo trending on social media by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Growth conveying approval of N30m for building of a ‘Friday’ mosque with taxpayers’ funds has sparked outrage.
However the Ministry maintained it has nothing to cover over the accepted N30million mosque venture.
The memo sighted by The Nation dated December 10, 2020 with reference quantity FMA/PROC/AHS/SIP/2020/7742/1, said the Ministerial Tenders Board accepted the contract.
The doc titled: ‘Award of Contract for the Development of Friday Mosque’ was signed by the Deputy Director, Procurement, Musa Musa on behalf of the Minister.
It was addressed to the Managing Director, El-Shukhur Multi-Buz Nig. Ltd.
It reads partly: “I’m directed to tell you that the ministerial tenders board at its seventh assembly held on December 7, 2020, accepted the award of contract for the development of Friday mosque to your organization on the whole sum of N30m solely, inclusive of VAT, with a completion interval of eight weeks with impact from the date of this letter.
“You’re subsequently required to point in writing inside three days of receipt of this supply, your acceptance to the workplace of the director, procurement, FMARD, Abuja or in any other case, the supply shall be thought of lapsed.”
The Ministry, in its rejoinder, stated it determined to construct the worship centre for livestock farmers displaced by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.
It famous the approval didn’t breach any regulation as being portrayed by some media homes (not The Nation).
It additional defined the ministry’s memo approving N30 million for the development of a Friday mosque is an official doc accessible for public scrutiny and overview.
“To place the information straight, the memo is genuine and acceptable in all ramifications.
“It’s unique and was issued by the Ministry for the development of a worship centre for a neighborhood of livestock farmers who have been sacked and displaced in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents and are being resettled in Ngarannam/Mafa native authorities, Borno State.
“Aside from the mosque, different frequent services supplied for the livestock farmers locally embody Photo voltaic Powered Boreholes with Overhead Tanks and Ingesting Troughs for his or her cattle and small ruminants.
“(Others are) Water Harvesting Buildings, Milk Assortment Middle, Resettlement Abode in addition to different infrastructure to correctly settle and rehabilitate the displaced livestock farmers.
“The development of the mosque was a particular request from the neighborhood via the Borno State Authorities to keep away from transferring too removed from the settlement areas for prayers and in addition to make sure their security and phone with the insurgents.
“The Memo is an official doc and it’s accessible for public scrutiny and overview. It’s, subsequently, unlucky for anybody to presume that the memo leaked.
“The Ministry is by no means perturbed concerning the matter as a result of it acquired acceptable approval, carried out a due wants evaluation and ensured due course of within the execution of the venture.”
Reacting, a former lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye tweeted: “What! Regardless of all of the challenges dealing with meals safety, constructing a mosque is the Federal Ministry of Agriculture’s precedence!
“To wish for rain or what? How did we get right here for Heaven sake? What has the federal government bought to do with church buildings or mosques?”
Freelance investigative journalist David Hundeyin stated: “I’m simply fascinated with understanding how a lot taxpayers cash the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Growth @FmardNg spends on funding building of Ifa temples and Christian church buildings, since constructing mosques is outwardly a part of its remit. Not less than let the stupidity be honest.”
Daniel Regha queried: “It’s not the Agric Ministry’s work to construct mosques, utilizing N30m to take action for displaced herders is a misuse of public funds;
“Why not construct ranches & assist deal with the issue of open grazing? That cash was meant to assist enhance the Agric sector in Nigeria by empowering farmers.”