Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State, on Tuesday reacted to criticisms over state government’s stoppage of gifts during festivities, saying it was due to poor finances of government.
El-Rufa’i said in a statement signed by his media aide, Mr Samuel Aruwan that the government was broke and needed to conserve resources for development.
The decision of the governor came under serious criticism from civil servants especially those in the lower cadre over the stoppage of the annual gift.
“Kaduna State is broke and needs to tighten its finances to serve the people better in a manner that befits their massive support for change,’’ the governor said.
He explained that the practice had been used to siphon “government resources in the guise of gifts to prominent politicians, public servants and famous figures, or the feeding of indigent persons during religious occasions.’’
The governor stressed that his administration would no longer play to the gallery to score cheap political goal and fraudulently enrich few individuals by continuing with the scheme.
“Findings have revealed how it is mainly prominent politicians and influential personalities that benefit from the Ramadan and Christmas gifts instead of the so called poor.
“Food stuffs, bought with public resources, are distributed to prominent government officials and other personalities, while the poor in whose name those foods are procured queue in droves for crumbs,’’ he said.
El-Rufa’i challenged prominent individuals benefiting from the gesture to deploy their wealth to support the poor instead of taking from them.
The governor said, he was coordinating with some of his friends to pool resources “to provide Ramadan feeding as private individuals to the vulnerable in our society.’’
“This is a healthy way of building a caring society, and if more widely adopted by people of means, will certainly provide for more persons than a fraudulent system of government provision that at best reaches only a few,’’ he added. (NAN)