Saturday, January 8, 2011


7th January, 2010

Details of the 2011 budget proposal have started emerging. One aspect of the revelations concern the amount to be spent on food this year in the presidency alone which has been put at N574m. Spread over the 365 days of the year, the presidency will be spending about N1.57m per day in 2011.

In a country where an army of unemployed youths roam the streets, where hunger and starvation are the lot of the masses, where the average Nigerian survives on less than $1 per day and the per capita income is less than $300, the presidency cannot rationalize its plan to spend this colossal amount on food.

Compared to last year’s presidency food budget of N405.3m, the present increase is inexplicable. What has changed in the presidency within the last one year to warrant the increment? Does this not mean that Nigerians should expect another increment of over N100m in 2012? Is this not the same executive which grudgingly approved N18,000.00 minimum wage for workers and is yet to pay same? What kind of leaders do we have in this country for Allah’s sake?

The Glorious Qur’an commands that people should be given their fair share of resources. It warns against squandering and describes people who are extravagant as brothers of Shaytan (Satan). The Qur’an concludes that Shaytan is ungrateful to Allah. It says inter alia, “Render to the kindred and those in want their due rights as well as the wayfarer. But do not waste your wealth. Verily indeed spendthrifts are brothers of Shaytan and Shaytan is to his Lord ungrateful” (Qur’an 17: 26 – 27).

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) rejects this gluttonous food budget particularly on grounds of its ungodliness. Nigerian leaders lack the fear of God. We call on the National Assembly to throw the budget back to the presidency until a prudent food budget is returned. This is the budget of a spendthrift. It is outrageous, ungodly and provocative. It is insensitive to the plight of the average Nigerian. It is an exercise in executive extravagance. It is therefore unacceptable.

This reckless food budget further confirms our fear that the poverty in Nigeria is self-imposed. There is a persistent push from people in power to permanently enslave the proletariat by impoverishing the citizenry. This explains why a few powerful individuals often allocate to themselves resources that should go round. Nigerians were not created to suffer hunger, nakedness or homelessness. The Glorious Qur’an confirms that Allah made enough provision for all (Qur’an 20: 118 – 119). The problem is that those in power in this country have always taken more than their fair share.

MURIC calls on those in power to let Nigerians go! The Nigerian government has no moral right to punish petty thieves and armed robbers pushed into crime by hunger when they themselves lack discipline.

We charge the Federal Government to show concern for millions of Nigerians who battle hunger on a daily basis. We call on civil society to rise against the current trend of the manifestation of greed, avarice and selfishness in the executive arm of government.

Dr. Is-haq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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