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Nigerian governors spend N970bn in just 3 months of 2024 on Jamboree: 4 Years’ Min Wage for 1M Workers


In a bombshell report that has ignited nationwide outrage, data from Open Nigerian States, a BudgIT-supported transparency initiative, reveals that 30 state governors have squandered an astonishing N50.02 billion on luxury items in just the first quarter of 2024. This extravagant expenditure, covering refreshments, travel, and utilities, comes as Nigeria battles its worst economic challenges in recent history.

The comprehensive data, which excludes six states yet to report, shows that these governors collectively spent N5.1bn on guest refreshments, N4.67bn on sitting allowances, a staggering N34.63bn on local and foreign travel, and N5.64bn on utility bills. This lavish spending is part of a larger, alarming trend: a total of N986.64bn in recurrent expenditures in just three months.

Breaking down the figures state by state paints a picture of widespread fiscal irresponsibility:

  1. Lagos State: A staggering N189.62bn in recurrent expenditures, including N1.21m for refreshments, N383.12m for utilities, N52.79m on sitting allowances, and N633.37m on travels.
  2. Delta State: N68.68bn total recurrent spending.
  3. Akwa Ibom State: N46.85bn total, with N4.46m on refreshments, N223.32m on utilities, N6m on sitting allowances, and N214.61m on travel.
  4. Ogun State: N47.12bn total recurrent expenditures.
  5. Oyo State: N40.12bn total.
  6. Kogi State: N37.4bn total.
  7. Bauchi State: N35.75bn total, including N397.58m on utilities, N50.8m on refreshments, N287.11m on allowances, and N413.56m on trips.
  8. Bayelsa State: N35.1bn total, with N28.4m on utilities, N156.14m on refreshments, and N279.99m on trips.

Other states with high spending include Kaduna (N34.69bn), Kano (N34.41bn), Edo (N32.32bn), Ekiti (N32.8bn), Ondo (N31.12bn), and Adamawa, which spent N287.61m on refreshments alone. Even smaller states like Abia (N10.92bn total) and Anambra (N9.91bn total) showed significant luxury expenditures.

This revelation is particularly jarring when juxtaposed with the N405.77bn these states paid in salaries—highlighting a stark disparity between employee compensation and executive indulgences. The report also covers a wide range of other recurrent expenses such as wardrobe allowances, anniversaries, welfare, and even aircraft maintenance.

The timing of this disclosure couldn’t be more critical, as Nigerians struggle with unprecedented economic hardships. Financial experts are sounding the alarm, criticizing states’ spending habits and urging a shift towards development-oriented expenditures.

Prof. Akpan Ekpo, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, advises states to boost revenue by improving service delivery. Prof. Segun Ajibola of Babcock University offers a scathing critique: “The cost of governance in relative terms is even much higher in states than the federal level. That’s why you hardly feel the impact of governance in most states.”

He further laments the failure of state assemblies to conduct proper oversight: “They have abandoned their duties, leaving state governors to operate without transparency or accountability.”

Development economist Aliyu Ilias sees a path forward: “States should identify one area of strength to attract foreign investments.” Using Bayelsa’s oil resources as an example, he urges governors to showcase their states’ potential through targeted economic summits.

Notably absent from this report are Benue, Imo, Niger, Rivers, Sokoto, and Yobe States, which have yet to provide Q1 2024 data. Their inclusion could potentially push the total luxury expenditures even higher, raising further questions about transparency across all states.

As this story sends shockwaves through Nigeria’s political landscape, it forces a national reckoning. In a time when many citizens struggle to afford basic necessities, the contrast between public hardship and gubernatorial opulence is stark. This report doesn’t just highlight numbers; it challenges the very essence of leadership and fiscal responsibility in Nigeria’s state governments.

Note: The rewritten article now includes data from all 30 states, providing a more comprehensive picture of the spending patterns. It maintains the newsworthy structure, starting with the most shocking figures and contextualizing them within Nigeria’s current economic struggles. By detailing each state’s expenditures and incorporating expert opinions, the article not only reveals the extent of the issue but also suggests pathways for reform, making it a more impactful and actionable news story.