Seven Northern States To Spend N28.3 Billion On Ramadan Feeding Programme – [See Details]

Seven Northern States To Spend N28.3 Billion On Ramadan Feeding Programme - [See Details]

Data recently compiled by journalists have revealed how seven states in the federation, namely Katsina, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi, Niger, and Yobe, allocated a total of over N28.3 billion for feeding their residents during the ongoing Ramadan fast.

Naija News understands that the Nigerian states allocated the funds in their budgets to provide free meals to residents, particularly the less fortunate, during Ramadan.

While this is seen as a gesture of social support to help ease the burden of daily expenses for those who struggle, arguments have been raised from different quarters over the development.

The gesture aims to provide much-needed support to low-income families and vulnerable populations during Ramadan, a month marked by specific dietary practices.

However,  critics argue these programs are expensive and strain government budgets that could be used for other crucial needs like infrastructure or education. Concerns also exist about the transparency and efficiency of these programs, with the potential for misuse of funds.

Ramadan Feeding Programme Budgets, Concerns By Clerics

It has been reported that numerous states, particularly in the Northern region, have allocated different amounts of money for the project, but have chosen not to disclose the exact figures.

This has caused concern among many people, including religious leaders calling for transparency, given the significant amount of money involved.

While it is not entirely inappropriate to provide support for the less fortunate during Ramadan due to its rewards, they are urging caution to prevent any potential misuse of funds.

Naija News understands that Katsina State is leading the way in budgeting the feeding program, with an allocation of N10 billion.

Sokoto has earmarked N6.7 billion, Kano has set aside N6 billion, Jigawa has allocated N2.83 billion, Kebbi has allocated N1.5 billion, Niger has allocated N976 million, and Yobe has allocated N178 million, respectively.

Earlier, the Governor of Katsina state, Dikko Umar Radda, during the committee’s inauguration to oversee the distribution of grains to beneficiaries, revealed the allocated amount for Ramadan feeding.

The governor emphasized that this gesture aims to support the state’s residents.

In Sokoto, Governor Ahmed Aliyu announced that the state has allocated N6.7 billion for the provision of Ramadan and other essential packages to the people.

Furthermore, the Kano State government has set a goal of reaching four million individuals through the 2024 Ramadan feeding program, which will cover all 44 local government areas of the state.

During an interview earlier, Kano State Commissioner for Information and Home Affairs, Baba Dantiye, expressed that the primary objective of the Ramadan feeding programme was to provide sustenance for underprivileged individuals.

Dantiye highlighted that the highly populated Kano metropolis, consisting of eight LGAs, houses 90 designated facilities such as mosques, remand centres, Almajiri schools, and hospitals.

“In each centre, we have three women who cook and three men who provide security so that people don’t tamper with the food or cause stampedes.

“In each centre, there are two bags of rice to feed at least 200 people, that is 100 people per bag; varieties such as beans, cake, pap, and other assorted food are cooked daily and served between 6.30 pm and 7.00 pm.m targeted at the most needy,” Daily Trust quoted the Commissioner as saying.

Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner in Jigawa, Sagir Musa, announced that the Ramadan feeding initiative would involve 609 feeding centres to provide three different food items daily to 182,700 impoverished individuals.

He mentioned the establishment of dedicated feeding centres in each of the state’s ten tertiary institutions. The program is expected to benefit around 3.8 million vulnerable individuals during Ramadan.

In addition to approving a budget of N2.83 billion for the special feeding program, the commissioner stated that the state executive council has allocated N1.125 billion for emergency procurement of extra rice and spaghetti to ensure sufficient food distribution throughout the state.

Based on reports, the N1.5 billion allocated for the Ramadan feeding program in Kebbi will be distributed across 69 feeding centres.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Affairs, Engr. Imran Usman-Abdulrahman mentioned earlier that the distribution will focus on three mosques in each of the 21 local government areas.

In Niger State, the Commissioner for Information, Binta Mamman, highlighted the timely allocation of N976 million for Ramadan feeding in the eight emirate councils.

According to her, assorted grains have been purchased for distribution to all 25 local government areas, emirate councils, religious leaders, security agencies, and political parties in the state.

On his side, the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, has also approved N187 million to feed the less privileged and vulnerable individuals during this year’s Ramadan fast.

The Governors Should Fear Allah (God)

A renowned cleric in Bauchi State, Malam Ahmad Abdullahi, speaking with journalists, said that while there is nothing wrong with catering to the people, the issue of accountability must be emphasised.

He urged the governors and contractors of the Ramadan Feeding programme to fear God and ensure transparency and accountability in the programme.

“Feeding the needy is an acceptable norm all over the world, especially during Ramadan.

“In fact, in some countries, including non -Muslim countries, they give meal tickets to unemployed persons as a temporary measure.

“But in Nigeria, we always have issues with these kinds of initiatives. Some people take advantage of it to steal; others produce poor-quality meals.

“So, I want to advise that the governors should fear Allah. The contractors should also fear Allah,” he said.

In a separate interview with journalists in Abuja, the Chief Imam of Nasirul-Lahi-Li-Fatih, Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) Mosque in Utako, Abuja and founder of Ashraaf Islamic Foundation, Sheik Sharafudeen Abdulsalam Aliagan, expressed his approval of the gesture, stating that it is positive and motivating.

He emphasized the distinction between individuals who wake up in the morning to seek sustenance and those who are fasting, such as students or vulnerable individuals.

“So, instead of these people to start going about begging or doing some very stressful work during the days of Ramadan, the well-to-do, those whom Allah has blessed, Islamic organisations, good individuals, philanthropists, according to the principle of Islam can assist those needy by giving them food, money and other lawful gifts to make the fasting easy for them,” Aliagan reportedly said.

According to him, NASFAT and other Muslim organizations nationwide provide meals to thousands of individuals, particularly students and other vulnerable individuals who require assistance during Ramadan fasting.

The cleric addressed concerns about corruption leading to mismanagement of the funds allocated for this initiative, stating that such a scenario is unlikely due to the sanctity of the Ramadan month.

He emphasized the importance of appointing competent and righteous individuals to oversee the resources, highlighting the need for those entrusted with the funds to seek Allah’s reward and avoid any misuse of the Ramadan feeding program funds or other assets.

The post Seven Northern States To Spend N28.3 Billion On Ramadan Feeding Programme – [See Details] appeared first on Naija News.

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