We didn’t spend N64bn on in­de­pen­dence an­niver­sary – ex-Min­is­ter

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Alex Abutu

For­mer Min­is­ter/ Deputy Chair­man, Na­tional Plan­ning, Dr. Abubakar Olan­re­waju Su­laiman, has de­bunked re­ports that N64bn was spent by the Good­luck Jonathan ad­min­is­tra­tion on in­de­pen­dence an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions in five years.

He said he was taken aback by the Face­book com­ment cred­ited to Gover­nor Nasir el-Ru­fai of Kaduna State on Thurs­day al­leg­ing that N13bn was spent in 2011, N15bn in 2012, N14bn in 2013 and N22bn in 2014 for the in­de­pen­dence cel­e­bra­tions.

“A break­down of our an­niver­sary spend­ing be­tween 2012 and 2014 amounted to N332.6mil­lion. For the records, a break­down of our spend­ing for this event be­tween 2012 and 2104 goes thus; 2012, N107.6m; 2013, N45m and 2014 had N180m. We chal­lenge the Of­fice of the Gov­ern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion (OSGF) to pub­lish these de­tails for the con­sump­tion of the public,” he said in a state­ment in Abuja yesterday.

He ques­tioned the source of the bil­lions, adding that though that of 2010 and 2011 were not handy, they all fell within the same bracket as the one stated, ex­cept that the 2010 an­niver­sary was a golden one when the coun­try marked her 50 years of in­de­pen­dence.

“But even then, no such out­ra­geous sum was ei­ther bud­geted or ex­pended. Again, it is ger­mane to ex­plain the in­crease in the 2013 an­niver­sary spend­ing for the pur­pose of ac­count­abil­ity. The Na­tional Hon­ours Award In­vesti­ture was in­cor­po­rated into the cel­e­bra­tion, thus mak­ing it two events in one, hence the N174.8m bud­get. We also want to add that the said award in­vesti­ture could not hold in 2013 and the ap­proved bud­get rolled over and was uti­lized to or­gan­ise the in­vesti­ture in 2014,” he added.

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