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50TH Anniversary: Late Yar'Adua Budgeted N62M

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF. - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN LAUNCHING THE FIRST IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR NIGERIA'S VISION 20:2020 AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RETREAT  HELD INSIDE THE BANQUET HALL OF THE STATE HOUSE IN ABUJA TODAY, 06-14-2010.
PHOTO: PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN LAUNCHING THE FIRST IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR NIGERIA'S VISION 20:2020 AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RETREAT HELD INSIDE THE BANQUET HALL OF THE STATE HOUSE IN ABUJA TODAY, 06-14-2010.
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ABUJA, June 14, (THEWILL) – Former President, Umaru Yar'Adua, had planned to spend N62 million (sixty two million naira), about $413, 000.00 on the country’s 50th independence anniversary which has now been ballooned to N10 billion by the present administration, THEWILL can report.

According to a government document sited by THEWILL, the proposal contained in the 2010 budget sent to the Legislature by Yar’Adua late last year asked for N7.4 million for the Information and Communication Ministry, N52 million for the Interior Ministry and N2.9 million for the Police Ministry as cost for the celebration.

It was not the intention of Yar'Adua to spend much on the celebration because of the uncertainties prevailing in the economy, THEWILL learnt from a top government source in Abuja.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had recently in a statement described the proposed expenditure it as wasteful noting, "We are of the view that the details of the over N10 billion independence anniversary expenditure in the supplementary appropriation bill submitted by the President to the National Assembly contain very frivolous and extravagant items in the context of the mass misery and poverty in the land particularly under the prevailing cash squeeze due to the global economic crisis which government uses to deny labouring people their legitimate rights."

As at the time of going to press, THEWILL was not able to obtain details on the breakdown of the proposed N10 billion Anniversary expenditure.

Senegal recently marked its 50th independence anniversary last April and its President, Abdoulaye Wade was highly criticized for ‘wasting’ millions of US dollars for an elaborate celebration including the $70 million-dollar construction of a giant copper sculpture of a family (African Renaissance Monument), built by Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies, a North Korean design firm, when the majority of its citizens are plagued by daily power outages and universities students striking over hikes in school fees.