President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N70 million for the celebration of Nigeria’s 55thIndependence anniversary.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, ably represented by the Permanent Secretary (Political), Ibukun Odusote who briefed journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, said President Buhari approved the 70 million reluctantly as he would have preferred if the money had gone into the payment of workers’ salaries.
Lawal said President Buhari had maintained that the money was too much to be spent on frivolities such as celebrations, when Nigerians are grappling to survive the present day economic stress.
He said: “Let me emphasize that this year’s celebration is indeed low-key. This is because the present administration appreciates the economic hardship that Nigerians and indeed the nation is confronted with today.
“To address the situation, government has adopted a general policy to be very prudent in the management of our financial resources. This year’s celebration is therefore, in consonance with the cost saving policy direction of this administration.”
According to him, four events have been approved by the President for the entire celebration process.
He said: “The events are – Jumat prayers, international thanksgiving service, ceremonial change of guards and a children’s party.
The independence anniversary would kick start with Jumat prayers on Friday, September 25, at the National Mosque, Abuja, which will be followed by interdenominational thanksgiving service on Sunday, September 27 at the National Christian Worship Centre, Abuja.
There will be ceremonial change of guards at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on October 1.
The Children’s party will be held on Saturday, October 3 at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
He added: “Apart from these four events the President will also address the nation on October 1.
“To ensure a successful commemoration, four sub-committees have been constituted to handle the preparations for each of the four events.”