Muslims fasting in Kaduna state has pleaded to the state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to borrow a leaf from other Northern state governors by providing them food stuff in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Before the coming of the El-Rufai administration, fasting Kaduna residents enjoyed similar benefits from the state government.
Previous administrations distributed rice, millet, vegetable oil, milk, sugar and other commodities to Muslims; and also hosted religious groups to Ramadan breakfast.
But Mr. El-Rufai announced that the state government would not continue the practice in 2015 when he received leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atul Nasril Islam at the Government House, Kaduna.
Mr. El-Rufai said if his government continued to fund the welfare package, it would not be able to deliver on its key programmes, considering the state’s financial situation.
“I have also been made to understand that this Ramadan period, we are supposed to have started sharing rice, milk and sugar; but we will not do that. One, the government is not supposed to be involved in religious activities. Two, the government is broke,” he had said.
When PREMIUM TIMES visited locations in Kaduna metropolis, Zaria, Kubau and Birnin-Gwari local government areas, the call was the same for the governor to reverse his policy on the issue.
“We all know how the economy is fairing. Many people are not able to get even sugar for their pap at dawn. We are begging Governor El-Rufai to help us and please distribute some food items to the locals so that we can have some ease.
“We know he had said he cannot use government money to do so but we are begging that he should take a second look,” Ibrahim Sani, a bricklayer in Tudun wada, Kaduna, said.
Hajiya Laure, a resident of Kofa in Zaria, said this year is difficult for many residents of Zaria.
“I cannot understand what is happening. With the little I have, I think more than 50 people came to my house to break their fast in the past two days.
“I think the government can help in establishing few centres where people can just break their fast. I will beg for this from the state government.”
Nasir Bala, resident of Pambegua, Kubau Local Government Area, called on other government officials and wealthy Nigerians to help the less-privileged especially in this month of Ramadan.
“Yes, the government has a duty to provide for its people but also wealthy individuals should come to the rescue of the people.
“Kano is doing it, Yobe, Sokoto and many others. I call on Governor El-Rufai to please help the people. We need it so badly this Ramadan.”
In most of the places visited, fasting Muslims were unanimous in their call on the government to come to the aid of the people.
Asked if Mr. El-Rufai would change his stance about not using state resources to feed the fasting Muslims, an aide said the state government will not change its stance.
The official, who declined to be named, said the governor and his friends have already provided similar largesse to the less privileged not only during Ramadan.
“The state government is not going to use state resources to feed or do what it is not meant for. However, the governor and his friends through his existing foundation, El-Rufai Foundation, have been feeding the less privileged, and even give out scholarship to indigents in the state.”
Senate Committee Screens Yakubu For INEC Chair Today
The Chairman of the committee, Kabiru Gaya, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday after the panel submitted the report of the 2021 budget estimates of the commission to the Senate Committee on Appropriation.
The Senate received President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter seeking Yakubu’s confirmation on Tuesday.
He had on October 27 announced his decision to reappoint the former INEC boss.
The president’s letter was forwarded to the committee on INEC for screening which Senator Gaya said will be carried out expeditiously.
“Precisely the re-nominated Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu is to face our committee by 2:00 pm for the required drilling, the outcome of which will determine the report to be submitted to the Senate on Tuesday,” he said.
No Plan To Review 2021 Spending Estimates: Minister
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has expressed that there is no plan to review the spending estimates of the 2021 budget.
She has also allayed the fears of federal civil servants that the country’s entering into recession might stall the salary payments of workers.
She made this known while speaking with journalists after the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House.
Ahmed said even the consequential adjustment in the 2020 budget wholly addressed salary matters.
Recall that the proposed 2021 budget is currently being reviewed by members of the National Assembly.
“On the 2021 budget, we are not planning to retrieve the budget or to reverse the budget beyond the work of appropriation that the National Assembly is currently doing in consultation with us,” she said.
#EndSARS: UK Parliament Does Not Speak For British Govt – FG
The federal government of Nigeria has stated that it has reached out to the United Kingdom to explain its side of the story over the #EndSARS crisis.
This follows a petition being considered by the United Kingdom to sanction officials of the Nigerian government over alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests in the country.
However, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, explained to State House Correspondents on Wednesday that Nigeria has reached out to the UK govt.
He explained that FG has presented its own side of the story to the UK govt to aid its deliberations on the matter.
This he stated after the weekly federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that a balanced view is important in such matters.
He said: “Yes, we have reached out to the UK government. The meeting that took place were Parliamentarians and they do not speak for the UK government which acts for the United Kingdom and they have also heard the side of the (Nigerian) government regarding everything that has happened.
“So, we have been in touch with them and engaging with them. Of course, as in any democracy, the members of parliament are able to also able to air their views.
“But what is important, is that a balanced picture is made available to them before they take any decision.”
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