In a radical departure from the past, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has cancelled the annual Ramadan ‘welfare’ package usually distributed to Muslims in the state.
In the past, rice, millet, vegetable oil, milk, sugar and other commodities were distributed to Muslims to ameliorate the burdens of fasting.
But Governor El-Rufai on Friday said his government could not continue sharing state resources.
He said if his government continues in that direction, it will only be able to pay salaries.
Speaking when he received the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atul Nasril Islam yesterday at the Government House, Kaduna, Mr. El-Rufai said if his government continues to fund the welfare package, it will barely be able to deliver on key mandates of his government, considering the state’s lean resources.
“This beautiful office complex we are in cost the government about N10billion. Me and my partner, the Deputy Governor would not have built this when there are many masses oriented projects yet to be executed, but it has been built, we have to use.
“I have also been made to understand that, this Ramadan period, we are supposed to have started sharing rice, milk and sugar, but we will not do that. One, the government is not supposed to be involved in religious activities. Two, the government is broke.
“So, we solicit for your prayers to be able to stabilize the situation and we hope that things will improve”, he said.
Responding to the earlier call for the return of missionary schools to churches, Mr. El-Rufai said, the government cannot return the schools and continue funding them.
While promising to set up a committee to look into their request, the governor pointed out that ownership is not what matters, but quality education and equal opportunity to every child.
Earlier, the JNI delegation led by Ibrahim Kufena, offered a special prayer for the success of Mr. El-Rufai’s administration and assured the government of JNI’s readiness to assist government in maintenance of peace at all times.