The Kano state Government on Thursday announced that it would be shelling out N180million to renovate the official residence of Deputy Governor Hafiz Abubakar.
The state government said the renovation became necessary to raise the property to a level befitting of Mr. Abubakar’s “status”.
The planned expenditure triggered widespread condemnation from citizens who consider the spending unreasonable, especially for a state reeling under a N300billion debt burden and having 67 per cent of its people in absolute poverty.
The outrage intensified following disclosures that the huge amount is being spent on a building that only three months ago was befitting home to the former deputy governor of the state, Abdullahi Ganduje, who is now governor.
The decision was further greeted with anger as it came alongside reports that the government was sacking 2,620 street cleaners who received N10, 000 monthly stipend.
PREMIUM TIMES’ brief analysis of the purchasing power of N180 million shows that the amount could go a long way in changing the lives of the people of the state if judiciously spent in other ways.
If deployed towards enhancing healthcare delivery in the state, N180 million can be used in building 18 primary health care centres at the cost of N10 million each in several locations in the state. That might help reduce maternal mortality and save more kids from dying from treatable diseases such as malaria.
There is apparent dearth of both medical personnel and infrastructure in the state due to population explosion and absence of corresponding expansion on facilities.
Still on healthcare, N180 million can provide over 26,000 children with insecticide-treated mosquito nets at N6,900 each.
If that money is spent on boosting yield of farm produce, the amount can also cover the cost of procurement of about 30,000 bags of fertilizers for Kano farmers at N6,000 each.
The money -N180 million – can also offset a six-month wage bill of the 2,600 sanitation workers sacked by the state government in the guise of “verification” recently.
In order to provide conducive learning environment in schools, 24,000 sets of school furniture, comprising table and chair at N7,500 each, can be procured at the cost of N180 million.
Yet kids sit on bare floors to study in some schools located in remote communities while the deputy governor gets a N180million uplift of his residential mansion.
Investigation by PREMIUM TIMES shows that many schools do not have sufficient chairs and other instructional materials.