The Kano State government has defended its decision to renovate Deputy Governor Hafiz Abubakar’s residence with N180 million, saying the decision was taken to raise the property to a level befitting of Mr. Abubakar’s “status”.
The clarification came amid outrage following the government’s earlier announcement of its plan to spend the amount on a building that only three months ago, was home to the former deputy governor of the state, Abdullahi Ganduje, who is now the 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.
In a statement Friday, the government denied dismissing the workers.
The commissioner for Information, Internal Affairs, Youths, Sports and Culture, Mohammed Garba, who signed the statement, said the programme was only “suspended” to allow a proper staff audit.
“To set the record straight, the appointment of the affected staff was not terminated but suspended pending the conclusion of screening exercise of all the staff by a committee to determine genuine, ghost, fake and non-existent staff among them,” the statement said.
“Government is very much worried and concerned with lack of proper documentation on each of the over 2,000 affected street sweepers who collect monthly N10, 000 allowance and, therefore, deemed it necessary to establish their true status in order to save public funds from been diverted using ghost workers or unjustifiably collected by absconded staff who only showed up at the cashier’s table at the end of every month.”
“All genuine and worthy staff will be cleared to resume duty at the end of the screening exercise,” the government said.
On the renovation of the deputy governor’s residence, the government denied reports that the face-lift was for Mr. Abubakar’s “office”.
He said the plan was to refurbish the deputy governor’s “residence” to a level befitting of his office.
“As for the alleged approval of N180million for the rehabilitation of the deputy governor’s office, no organization or individual or group in the name of government or otherwise ever talked about that since the inception of the administration because the said office was renovated and occupied just four months ago.
“The amount is for the general renovation of the official residence of the Deputy Governor to a standard befitting his status,” it said.