The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development headed by Sabo Nanono, has confirmed the authenticity of a trending leaked memo circulating on social media platforms.
The memo dated December 10, 2020, with Ref. No. FMA/PROC/AHS/SIP/2020/7742/1, and signed by Musa Musa, the deputy director of procurement on behalf of the Mr Nanono, showed the ministry awarded a contract of thirty million naira to El-Shukhur Multi-Buz Nig. Ltd, to build a Friday mosque in Borno State.
Amidst public outcry on why the ministry will use taxpayers’ money to build a religious infrastructure, the ministry in a statement by its director of Information, Theodore Ogaziechi, justified its decision, saying it decided to build the worship centre for livestock farmers displayed by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.
“Our attention has been drawn to an online publication by the Punch Newspaper alleging that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has come under fire on social media following a leaked memo conveying the approval of N30m for the construction of a Friday mosque with taxpayers’ funds,” Mr Ogaziechi said.
“In addition, a government official memo, dated December 10, 2020, with ref. No. FMA/PROC/AHS/SIP/2020/7742/1 stating that the Ministerial Tenders Board approved the contract, was displayed on the platform.
“To put the facts straight, the memo is authentic and appropriate in all ramifications.
“Apart from the mosque, other common facilities provided for the livestock farmers in the community include Solar Powered Boreholes with Overhead Tanks and Drinking Troughs for their cattle and small ruminants, Water Harvesting Structures, Milk Collection Center, Resettlement Abode, as well as other infrastructure to properly settle and rehabilitate the displaced livestock farmers.
“The construction of the mosque was a Special Request from the community through the Borno State Government to avoid moving too far from the settlement areas for prayers and also to ensure their safety and contact with the insurgents.
“It is advised that in future, due diligence and restraint should be observed by our media friends before publications of this nature, meant for public good and security, are issued to avoid raising a false alarm and creating unnecessary rancour in the public space which may lead to overheating of the polity,” he said.