The Federal Government has clarified the amount spent for independence anniversary celebrations between 2010 and 2015.
Information obtained from the Office of the Secretary General of the Federation (OSGF) in a letter dated October 12, 2015 and made available to BudgIT Nigeria, an organisation committed to exposing transparency and accountability in public finance, apparently showed that the Jonathan administration spent N333, 600, 000 for four years to hold independence day celebrations.
Jonathan, who initially responded to the allegation, described the huge figure as figment of el-Rufai’s imagination and a fabricated lie by a favour-seeker.
The former President warned government functionaries to desist from abusing the immunity enjoyed by them by destroying history and trading lies just to earn cheap popularity or curry favour from certain quarters.
He said: “It is high time government functionaries desisted from abusing their immunity by destroying history and trading on lies just to gain cheap popularity or curry one favour or the other from certain quarters.
“Perhaps former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was right in his assessment of el-Rufai when he said in his latest memoirs, My Watch, that his vivid recollection of el-Rufai is his penchant for lying, unfair embe-llishment of stories and inability to sustain loyalty for long.
“One hopes that President Buhari would be on guard against being misled by the likes of el-Rufai, who are hell bent on misinforming Nigerians.”
Also in a statement in Abuja, through his former Minister of National Planning, Minister/Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, Jonathan said: “For the record, a breakdown of our anniversary spending between 2012 to 2014 amounted to N332.6 million.
According to the letter by OSGF and signed by the Director (Finance & Accounts), Mohammed Lawal Garba, no funds were released for the independence day anniversary celebration in 2011. In 2012, N107,600,000 was released for the celebrations. In 2013, only the sum of N45 million was approved and in 2014, only N180 million was spent.
See the letter from OSGF below:
Recall that following the announcement that President Muhammadu Buhari earmarked only N70 million for the 2015 Independence Day Anniversary, Governor El-Rufai took to his Facebook page on October 1, 2015, alleging that the administration of former President Jonathan spent N64 billion to celebrate Independence anniversaries between 2011 and 2014.
According to El-Rufai, Jonathan’s administration spent N13 billion in 2011, N15 billion in 2012, N14 billion in 2013 and N22 billion in 2014.
See El-Rufai’s post below:
El-Rufai’s Facebook post on Jonathan’s spending for Independence Anniversaries (2011-2014)
But in a swift response, the immediate past Minister of National Planning during the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, Abubakar Sulaiman, said the Jonathan administration only spent N333 million on three independence anniversaries (2012-2014) and not the billions of naira being bandied about by the Kaduna State Governor.
Read Suleiman’s response here
However, when Vanguard checked El-Rufai’s Facebook page as at the time of filing this report, the controversial post had been deleted.
Follow us on Twitter at @Riverinenews
Copyright 2014 Riverine News.
Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to http://riverinenews.com/ and other relevant sources.