By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has maintained that it has nothing to hide over approved N30 million mosque project while reacting to media reports on alleged ‘leaked memo’ approving the sum for construction of a ‘Friday’ mosque with taxpayers’ money.
The reaction was contained in a statement with subject ‘RE: Leaked Memo: Nigeria’s Agric Ministry Approves N30m for Mosque Construction’ signed by the Director, Information Department, Theodore Ogaziechi, and made available to Vanguard.
According to the statement, a government official memo, dated December 10, 2020, with ref. No. FMA/PROC/AHS/SIP/2020/7742/1 stating that the Ministerial Tenders Board approved the contract and was displayed on the platform.
The Ministry’s reaction reads, “Our attention has been drawn to an online publication by the Punch Newspaper alleging that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has come under fire on social media following a leaked memo conveying the approval of N30m for the construction of a Friday mosque with taxpayers’ fund. In addition, a government official memo, dated December 10, 2020, with ref. No. FMA/PROC/AHS/SIP/2020/7742/1 stating that the Ministerial Tenders Board approved the contract, was displayed on the platform.
“To put the facts straight, the memo is authentic and appropriate in all ramifications. It is original and was issued by the Ministry for the construction of a worship centre for a community of livestock farmers who were sacked and displaced in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents and are being resettled in Ngarannam/Mafa local government, Borno State.
“Apart from the mosque, other common facilities provided for the livestock farmers in the community include Solar Powered Boreholes with Overhead Tanks and Drinking Troughs for their cattle and small ruminants, Water Harvesting Structures, Milk Collection Center, Resettlement Abode, as well as other infrastructure to properly settle and rehabilitate the displaced livestock farmers.
“The construction of the mosque was a Special Request from the community through the Borno State Government to avoid moving too far from the settlement areas for prayers and also to ensure their safety and contact with the insurgents.
“The Memo is an official document and it is available for public scrutiny and review. It is therefore unfortunate for anyone to presume that the memo leaked.
“The Ministry is in no way perturbed about the matter because it received appropriate approval, carried out due needs assessment, and ensured due process in the execution of the project.”
It will be recalled that the document containing the award of contract for the N30 million mosque project by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with the subject ‘Award of Contract for the Construction of Friday Mosque’ was signed by the Deputy Director, Procurement, Musa Musa, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development was addressed to the Managing Director, El-Shukhur Multi-Buz Nig. Ltd.
The document reads, “I am directed to inform you that the ministerial tenders board at its 7th meeting held on December 7, 2020, approved the award of contract for the construction of Friday mosque to your company at the total sum of N30m only, inclusive of VAT, with a completion period of eight weeks with effect from the date of this letter.
“You are therefore required to indicate in writing within three days of receipt of this offer, your acceptance to the office of the director, procurement, FMARD, Abuja, or otherwise, the offer will be considered lapsed.”