YBTC News—In his usual rhetoric, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed broke the camel’s back when he said the government of Nigeria spends about 3.5 million naira in a month on feeding Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria(IMN) otherwise known as Shiites.
This pronouncement however, has resulted to stiff condemnation by various people from different corners of the country.
Certainly, if really the Federal Government is spending such huge amount of money on an individual who is still undergoing court trials, then, I think they should have a rethink. Such money should have been used to execute or perhaps fund some little projects even if its in Zaria.
In the same vein, if Lai is not lying again, it means that the government has spent about 150,000,000 naira on El-Zakzaky since his arrest in December, 2015. This is a huge some of money. What has the government gain over such expenditure?
It is imperative to note that, El Zakzaky’s arrest has resulted to more harm than good. Recently, the Shiites have been engaged in fierce battle with security operatives over the continued detention of their leader, Zakzaky.
The recent clashes between Shiites and the security operatives reminds me of a piece i wrote in March, 26, 2016 published by Daily Trust. In the article, I pointed out that “My greatest fear is that, if today El-Zakzaky dies in the hands of our security operatives without any fair trial or justice then am afraid this people (Shiites) who claimed they are unarmed will unavoidably be armed.”
El Zakzaky is not dead yet, but the actions of these people speak volumes. Perhaps, the government needs to do what is needed. It should be noted that the court has granted El Zakzaky’s bail on several occasions but the government has refused to go in accordance with the rule of law.
If the detention of El Zakzaky will cost us much as a country, then, it is better to release him on bail. Other preventive measures should be taken to ensure that the Shiites do not temper with other people’s right.
Moreover, if the government is spending 3.5 million on El Zakzaky, does that mean it is also spending same on Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.), former, National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan? Anways that is a story for another day.
Also, If Mr. Lai isn’t lying about expending such millions on Zakzaky’s feeding, then, it is very pathetic that at this moment when Nigerians are dying for increment in minimum wage of the country.
It would be recalled that it took the Nigerian Labour Congress to issue almost two months ultimatum to the Federal government on the 30,000 minimum wage. In fact, the agreement which is still a partial agreement is yet to be signed as a law to increase the minimum wage of civil servants to 30,000 naira.
Now, the question is what is the fate of those Nigerians who cannot afford 3 square meal per day? How many likes of El Zakzaky are in detention and are being fed with millions of naira?
Most importantly, its should be noted that Mr Lai may lie to the public to attain public sympathy and recognition for taking care of Sheik El Zakzaky. It doesn’t speak well that one person will consume enormous money just for feeding.