Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State on Sunday disbursed N99 million to the families of the 114 pilgrims from the state who died in the Muna stampede, in Saudi Arabia, during the 2015 Hajj exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that each of the families was given N500,000, as a ”personal gift from the state government.” Details of how the total sum became N99 million was not provided.
Mr. Tambuwal described the stampede an act of God that could not be prevented by any mortal.
He called on the benefiting families not to regard the gesture as a compensation but a token to alleviate their suffering.
The governor also admonished the people of the state and other Nigerians to continue to pray for the souls of the departed pilgrims.
In a related development, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State says the state government has awarded five contracts worth more than N2 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of secondary schools.
Mr. Tambuwal spoke in Sokoto on Sunday in a broadcast to mark his one year anniversary in office.
The governor stated that out of the amount, the rehabilitation of four schools would gulp over N860 million.
He listed the benefitting schools as Gamji Girls’ College, Rabah; Government Girls’ Model Secondary School, Illela; Government Secondary School, Tureta; and Government Girls’ Arabic Day Secondary School, Sabon-Birni.
According to the governor, about N1.2 billion contract has also been awarded for the construction of a new boarding secondary school in Balle, the headquarters of Gudu Local Government Area.
Mr. Tambuwal said that the state government had constructed and renovated 51 blocks of three classrooms in a number of local governments, as well as the conduct of Pilot Breakfast Feeding.
He said that these were in some selected rural primary schools at Betere, Rundi, Kwagel, Kubodu and Dankyal, among others.
“We are indeed resolute in our determination to increase access to education and improve quality of education through the expansion of schools and construction of new ones.
“We are committed to continue sponsorship of students for educational training at all levels, both within and outside the country.
“A cogent indication of our commitment is reflected in our 28 per cent budgetary provision to the educational sector which has exceeded both national and UNESCO benchmark of 26 per cent,” Tambuwal said.
The governor said that he declared a state of emergency in the educational sector to upturn “the saddening tide of the educationally-disadvantaged position of our state”.
He said that the aim of the gesture was to improve enrolment at all stages of education: basic, secondary and tertiary.
“We also hope to improve quality of teachers by training and retraining and improving human capital capacity in the sector.
“From the beginning of this administration, over N1 billion was expended on the payment of tuition and living expenses to our foreign students across the globe.
“Presently, we have over 17,000 students studying various courses in institutions of higher learning across the country.
“In 2015, we employed 500 new teachers to augment the manpower needs in our secondary schools,” Mr. Tambuwal said.
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