Nigeria: Gov’t didn’t use funds to care for lions

Nigeria: Lion’s Share Scandal – NCMM, Nasarawa Govt Didn’t Spend N18 Million

Mohammed S. Shehu and Tahir Ajobe

6 April 2009

Abuja — Nasarawa State government and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) did not spend N18 million annually for the feeding of two lions under the care of the NCMM, the two authorities have said.

A newspaper (not Daily Trust) had reported that Nasarawa State government had arranged with the NCMM to spend N18 million on the two animals it inherited from the previous administration.

The report said the animals were procured by former Governor Abdullahi Adamu as part of security checks inGovernment House, Lafia but on assumption of office, the report said Governor Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma became uncomfortable staying with the animals in the governor’s house and decided to transfer them to the custody of NCMM for keep at the National Zoological Garden in Jos.

But reacting to the allegation, the Nasarawa State government through the Director of Publicity and Media Affairs to Governor Doma, Ibrahim Adrra said only the sum of N1.9 million has been budgeted quarterly for the upkeep of about 22 animals and 19 birds it inherited from the immediate-past administration in the state and not only two lions as reported.

Adrra who spoke to Daily Trust on the phone said “This brought the total amount of expenses on the 22 animals to N7.6million per annum contrary to media reports that it spent between N18 to N20 million on the animals.

“The amount was expected to take care of the feeding, medication, water supply to the cages, periodic rehabilitation/re-enforcement of the cages, honorarium of zoo attendants and transport/logistics for purchase of feeds and sundry items.

Also reacting, the Director General of the NCMM, Dr. Joseph Eboreime corroborated the Nasarawa state government, adding that no official of the commission was directly involved in the disbursement of the fund.

He said out of the N1.9m budgeted, the state earmarked N1.1m for logistic, N710,000 for feeding and N90,000 for three staff (N10,000 each per month) for the quarter.

He said, “Money doesn’t in any way pass through the hands of NCMM top hierarchy officials as alleged, and nobody ‘feeds fat on the lion share.”

He said direct purchase of the animals’ feeds and other needs are done by designated Nasarawa State officials accompanied by staff of the Zoo, adding that the animals in their custody included a pair of lions, hyenas, gazelles, monkeys, waterbucks, cheetahs, crocodiles, ostriches and other birds.


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