Nigeria: Minister Nanono’s N30m Mosque Largesse for Herders

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has confirmed that the “leaked memo” circulating in the social media about the approval by the Minister-in-Charge, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, of N30 million for the construction of a mosque for displaced herdsmen is “authentic and appropriate in all ramifications”.

The note of defiance in the statement said it all. The building of the mosque was a deliberate action by the Minister. But the question is: where did he get the authority to make such approval?

Ordinarily, the action of resettling herdsmen displaced by Boko Haram Islamist terrorists in Ngarannam/Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State should not raise an eyebrow because it can be seen as part of government’s obligation to provide for the welfare of citizens, especially displaced persons. This is an action we expect government to take in all cases of displacement of citizens.

But we have not seen it in the cases of farmers displaced by armed herdsmen in any part of the country, particularly Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, the Yewa areas of Ogun State and others. The act of spending government’s scarce resources in building a place of worship for them as well falls into the old, discredited attitude of the Federal Government and other governments to dabble into the personal issue of faith with public resources.

Since the Boko Haram insurgency gained traction in the North East, millions of Nigerians of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds have been thrown into internally displaced persons camps, IDPs. Local and international efforts are being mobilised to ensure that their basic needs of food, water, shelter and in applicable cases, access to education, are met without intruding into matters of religion which are personal matters.