The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has stated that the approval for the construction of a Friday mosque in Borno was to meet the demand of a displaced community.
According to the Ministry, the centre was for a community of livestock farmers displaced by Boko Haram insurgents and were being resettled in Ngarannam/Mafa Local Government Area of Borno.
Reports had emerged earlier of a leaked memo which showed that the ministry gave approval for construction of the said mosque.
The Director of Information in the ministry, Mr Theodore Ogaziechi, made this known in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the ministry’s memo approving N30 million for the construction of a Friday mosque is an official document available for public scrutiny and review.
The statement reads: “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.
“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.
“(Others are) Water Harvesting Structures, Milk Collection Center, Resettlement Abode as well as other infrastructure to properly settle and rehabilitate the displaced livestock farmers.
“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 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 a due needs assessment, and ensured due process in the execution of the project.
“It is advised that in future, due diligence and restraint should be observed by our media friends before the publication of this nature, meant for public good and security, are issued to avoid raising false alarm and creating unnecessary rancour in the public space which may lead to overheating of the polity,” he said.
By Mayowa Oladeji
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