Misplaced Priority? Zamfara Govt Spends Whopping N2.9b For Ramadan Welfare

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The Zamfara State Government on Sunday said it has so far spent a princely sum of N2.9 billion naira as welfare for the ongoing Ramadan fast by Muslims faithful in the state.

According to the state Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, the money was spent on purchase and distribution of essential commodities to various categories of people as Ramadan welfare.

He said the Chairman of the main committee for distribution of this year’s Ramadan welfare package, who is also the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Nasiru Magarya, has assured that the gesture would reach all beneficiaries in the state. He added that the Speaker has already set up various committees for ease of distribution.

According to Dosara, the 450 truckloads of the welfare packages contained rice, millet, maize, beans, sugar and milk and were being distributed to the vulnerable, less privileged, internally displaced persons, civil servants and other categories of members of the public.

“The aim is to help in reducing the hardship being faced by people and to enable them conduct the Ramadan fast with relative ease and happiness.

“In order to ensure equity, fairness and justice in the distribution exercise, the governor has ordered for the formation and or constitution of committees at state, local government, ward and polling unit levels with members drawn from the political class, labour, traditional and religious leaders,” he explained.

He noted that while members of the various committees had been directed to immediately swing to action, they were also cautioned against any form of malpractice that could deny any beneficiary.

The latest religious jamboree of the Bello Matawalle administration in Zamfara State is coming on the heels of a similar gesture during the 2020 Sallah celebrations, when the state government distributed 5,000 rams and 993 cows as part of its festive period largesse to the people of the state.

Though one is tempted to see the state government’s gesture as a populist agenda, one is also quickly reminded that a state, such as Zamfara, graded as one of the poorest in the country, with Internally Generated Revenue {IGR} said to be at about N150 million monthly, spending N2.9 billion on Ramadan welfare no doubt appear a profligate misplacement of priority.

There is no doubting the fact that governments all over Nigeria have been contending with funds to meet the basic needs of governance, a situation that calls for prudent application of resources, and not a profligate spending on the altar of populism or political correctness using religion as a readymade platform.

Zamfara, just like any other state in Nigeria, is confronted with myriads of needs, which include road infrastructures, dilapidated school structures, a disjointed healthcare system and a debilitating state of insecurity. These and others, to many Nigerians, are more pressing needs demanding attention and not the current Father Christmas disposition of the Bello Matawalle administration.

Governor Matawalle, who came into office with a sense of urgency to right the many wrongs that had befallen the state in the preceding administrations, will do well to change his current direction, which many see as a derailment of his initial blazing start.

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