Over a month after Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State claimed the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan spent N64 billion on Independence Day celebrations between 2011 and 2015, the Federal Government has countered that claim.
The governor had in a Facebook post on October 1, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly budgeting N70m for this year’s Independence Day anniversary celebration.
According to him, the Jonathan administration spent N10 billion for Nigeria’s golden jubilee celebration in 2010.
He gave a breakdown of spending on subsequent Independence Day celebrations under the previous administration as 2011 – N13bn; 2012 – N15bn; 2013 – N14bn; 2014 – N22bn and 2015 – N70m.
But in response to a request by BudgIT Nigeria, on the strength of Freedom of Information, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, noted that the Jonathan administration had spent N332.6m for the anniversary celebrations in the years El-Rufai claimed it squandered N64bn.
It further noted that N1.7bn was spent on the country’s 2010 golden jubilee celebration and N138, 138, 000 on the centenary honours awards in 2014.
In the letter titled ‘Independence Day celebration/centenary actual expenditure from 2010 to 2015,’ the Director, Finance and Accounts, in the Permanent Secretary’s office, Mohammed Garba, said, “With reference to your letter dated 2nd October, 2015 on the above subject matter, it is stated as follows:
“2010 (Golden Jubilee) – N1.7bn; 2011 (No release of funds); 2012 (53rd Independence Anniversary) – N107, 600, 000; 2013 (53rd Independence Anniversary) – N45, 000, 000; 2014 (54th Independence Anniversary) – N180, 000, 000; 2015 (55th Independence Anniversary) – N70, 000, 000).
“Please note that in 2013, Mr President approved the sum of N223, 800, 000 for the 53rd Independence Celebration, only N45, 000, 000 was released to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The sum of N138, 138, 000 was released for centenary honours awards”.