Chairpersons of local government in Jigawa State intend to spend N540 million renovating their guest houses in the state capital.

This was disclosed in the state 2024 budget. The 27 local governments collectively proposed N3.4 billion for security vehicles and guest house renovations.

Each chairperson allocated a N106 million for two Toyota Hilux vehicles for “security operations,” totaling N2.9 billion for the entire state.

In addition, each budgeted N20 million for renovations to guest houses in Dutse, the capital, bringing the total to N540 million.

These expenditures are part of the N109 billion budget for local governments submitted to the state House of Assembly.

The House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Ibrahim Adamu, revealed the details while presenting it to Speaker Haruna Aliyu.

Last Thursday, the assembly passed the N109 billion budget for local councils alongside the N298 billion budget for the state government.

Aliyu explained that the N298.14 billion state budget presented to the assembly by Governor Umar Namadi differs from the N298.14 billion local government budget, noting that the local government budget only needs the assent of the assembly to become a law.

“The committee found that the provision of N106,393,395.00 provided by each local government council amounting to N2,872,621,665.00 was provided by LGAs for the purchase of two Toyota Hilux in each local government for security operations,” Adamu said in his report.

“The committee found that the provision of N20,000,000.00 per each local government amounts to N540,000,000.00 only for the renovation of the local government council guest house at Dutse.”

According to the state assembly report, which contains a breakdown of local government expenditures, the breakdown shows that the state lawmakers also approved N1.35 billion (N50 million each) for the construction of two midwifery houses in each of the local government areas.

The report also includes the approved N540 million as a contribution for the purchase of nine Toyota Hilux for zonal inspectors across the state, among others.

The appropriation bill for local government councils contains over N41.3 billion in capital expenditure, over N24.6 billion in overhead costs, and N5.4 billion in contingency funds.

Local government staff salaries were set at N12.9 billion, while local education authority (teachers) salaries were set at N21.4 billion. Primary healthcare workers’ salaries were set at N3.3 billion.

The Jigawa assembly, according to the report, also slashed budgetary allocation for education in a state where thousands of children are out of school.

The assembly also made substantial provisions for the purchase of a new vehicle for the speaker, the construction of a new guest house in Abuja for the speaker, and the renovation of lawmakers’ guest houses in neighboring Kano State.

The allocation of N540 million for guest house renovations has been widely condemned by civil society organizations and ordinary citizens.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Jigawa (COCSIJ) has filed a petition asking the state governor, Muhammad Badu Abubakar, to intervene and stop the renovations.