Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State, has alleged that his immediate predecessor, Mohammed Abubakar, spent N2.3 billion on burial activities in five months.
Governor Mohammed made the claim through his spokesperson, Ladan Salihu.
Speaking to journalists in Bauchi, the state capital, the governor stated that the said money was spent between January to May 2019.
According to him, over N900m was spent on the purchase of white cloth used for wrapping corpses while over N1.4bn was used to buy the wood for lacing the graves after burial.
He also alleged that the money was not approved for expenditure by the Bauchi State House of Assembly.
“This money which ought to have been appropriated by the state House of Assembly before expenditure, all of a sudden emanated from our treasury books. How could you imagine that a state government, within five months, that is, between January and May 2019, spent well over N2.3bn on funeral materials, dresses for wrapping dead bodies and the woods that you lace the graveyards with?” Ladan said.
On whether there was concrete proof to corroborate its claim, Ladan said all the details were domiciled in the state’s treasury books.
He challenged journalists to seek the details through the Freedom of Information Act.
Ladan said: “All these are captured in the report of the transition committee and these were gathered from documents and vouchers and payments made from our treasury books. There is the Freedom of Information Law, use it and find out for yourself from those documents.”
The governor, through his spokesperson, said the government would notify the anti-corruption agencies and will ensure that “every kobo stolen is returned.”
He said: “Government will take stern measures; we will recover every kobo that has been looted or stolen by the immediate past administration and, in fact, the administration before it. Where it is established that there is a clear case of misappropriation or outright stealing of public funds, it’s an obligation, you don’t allow criminality to run roughshod on the rest of us because these are public funds.”
But in his reaction, Ali M. Ali, the media aide to the former governor, said he was not aware of such allegation.
He said, “I’ve not heard of anything like that so I will speak on it when I make my findings but this is laughable. I will get back to you on that when I have done my findings.”