The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says President Muhammadu Buhari approved the approval for constructing a “Friday mosque” for herdsmen in Borno to meet the demand of a displaced community.
It explained that the “centre” was for a community of livestock farmers displaced by Boko Haram insurgents resettled in the Ngarannam/Mafa local government area of Borno.
The Director of Information in the ministry, Theodore Ogaziechi, revealed this in a statement on Thursday.
He noted that the ministry’s memo approving N30 million to construct a Friday mosque was an official document available for public scrutiny and review.
“Our attention has been drawn to an online publication by a 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,” the government said.
The statement further explained, “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.
“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.”
According to the federal government, the provision of “water harvesting structures, milk collection centre, resettlement abode” and other infrastructure will ensure the herdsmen are “properly” settled and rehabilitated.
“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 statement revealed.
It, however, added, “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.”