From: Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
The Sokoto State Government has said it followed due process in the purchase of office and residential accommodation for the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and his entourage, in Abuja.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to Governor Aminu Tambuwal on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Sokoto.
The statement said the clarification became necessary following rumours making the rounds on the nature of approval given for the purchase of office and residential accommodation for the Sultanate Council in Abuja.
The statement emphasised that the state government, concerned by lack of a befitting office and residential accommodation for use by officials and members of the Sultanate Council, approved within its capital estimates of the 2016 Supplementary Budget and 2017 Budget, the sum of N200 million and N500 million respectively, for the provision and furnishing of Sultanate Council office and a Guest House in Abuja.
It said the items were on Pages 11 and 362 of the approved budget documents with Sub Head Numbers 467/131 which was passed by the Sokoto State House of Assembly and signed into law by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Friday, February 10, 2017.
The statement explained that sequel to that, the Sokoto State Executive Council, the highest decision-making body in the state, via a resolution of the EXCO with number CC (2016) 5R of Wednesday, December 28, 2016, approved the purchase of the office and residential accommodation in Abuja.
It further said thereafter, the Office of the Secretary of State Government received three offers from different Estate Developers which were vetted and assessed by the Ministry of Works and the State Due Process Office.
“Following adherence to laid down procedure, the process of acquiring the property was set in motion upon which some elements are now trying to make political capital out of it. We wish to make it clear that all laid down legal and administrative procedure had been followed in the execution of the matter.
“The Sultanate Council and its officials are important component of the life of Sokoto State. Its funding is taken care of by extant provisions of the laws of Sokoto State and executed primarily from revenue sources accruing to the State and Local Government Councils.
“We felt that providing a befitting office and residential accommodation to its officials will further strengthen the work officials of the Sultanate Council are carrying out in Abuja.
“The present situation where officials pay huge sums of money to stay in hotels is economically unsustainable in the long run,” the statement read.
The statement therefore, urged reporters and other members of the public to discountenance rumour mongers and always verify news stories from authorised channels.