The Zamfara State Government has lamented that the administration of former governor Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari in 2013 spent N7 billion within seven days on a Quran recitation event.
The state commissioner for budget and planning, Abdulmalik Gajam, in an interview hosted on Saturday by the Chief Executive Officer of Arewa Twitter, Abdullahi Otaki, on X (formerly Twitter), also lamented the lack of fiscal responsibility in the administration.
Yari was elected Zamfara governor on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and was reelected in 2015 for another four-year term, this time as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Gajam said, “In 2013; let me tell you something that is going to blow your mind away. In 2013 alone, there was a case; EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) invited most of the cabinet members in Zamfara State and the issue that happened, the government at that time spent N7 billion in seven days for Quranic memorisation programme. That is what we call musabaqah, where you bring in young people that have memorised the whole Quran and they would compete between each other.
“So in seven days, N7 billion was spent; EFCC had to come in. So you see, there was recklessness in fiscal responsibility and there was no financial management or mechanism put in place to check this.”
Regarding the genesis of banditry in the state, the commissioner said, “In 2011, unfortunately, Zamfara State had a leadership that did not value education. A leadership that had no respect for the rule of law”.
“There was a lot of neglect on orientation, education even concern with the happenings in the state right from 2011.
He said the problem of insecurity started with a handful of people “with the guns going around”.
He said, “Unfortunately, Zamfara state did not have any policy framework on how to manage and gather data. When things happen, we know where to look at, we do not have account of people that dwell in the state, we do not have account of people that run businesses, we do not have account of what comes in and what goes out of our state which every civilised society, a reasonable government is supposed to have.
“That insecurity was there, there was neglect, there was no respect for the constitution or even people that are put in power. That is how the situation started and then the people of Zamfara State in 2018, 2019 rebelled against that leadership because we realised it was becoming a problem rather than a solution.”