PROFILE: Sacked 75-year-old Agriculture Minister Who Built N30m Mosque For Herders
Some Nigerians were perhaps slightly surprised by the dismissal of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, especially by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who is not wont to sacking underperforming members of his cabinet since he came into power in May 2015.
But Buhari on Wednesday sacked Nanono (Kano State) and his Power counterpart, Saleh Mamman (Taraba State), according to presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina.
Adesina also announced that the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abubakar, has been redeployed to the Ministry of Agriculture while the Minister of State for Works, Abubakar Aliyu, is to take over as Minister of Power.
“I wish to reiterate once more, that this process shall be continuous,” Adesina had quoted Buhari as saying, adding that the decision was taken after “critical self-review” of the performances of the two ministers.
The two dismissed ministers were in August 2019 sworn in as part of the over 40 ministers who make up the current Federal Executive Council.
Kano-born Nanono, 75, was sacked amid plans by the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to recover grazing routes across the country.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Buhari ordered the review of 368 grazing sites in 25 states despite widespread criticisms against open grazing and its attendant security consequences.
The 17 Southern governors had kicked against open grazing and given September 1, 2021, as the deadline for states in the region to sign Anti-Open Grazing Bills into laws.
Nanono was sacked months after a memo conveying his approval of N30m for the construction of a ‘Friday’ mosque for herders became public knowledge.
The memo, dated December 10, 2020, which leaked in May 2021, showed that FMARD under Nanono approved the contract of the building of the mosque to El-Shukhur Multi-Buz Nig. Ltd, despite the fact that a search through the 2020 budget by The PUNCH showed that no mosque construction was stated in the ministry’s estimates.
Many Nigerians had flayed Nanono for the action of building a mosque for herders with taxpayers’ funds, saying he should also build a church for displaced Christians and a shrine for displaced traditionalists.
FMARD under Nanono had confirmed the leaked memo as being authentic and stressed that it built the mosque for livestock farmers sacked from their settlements by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State.
“To put the facts straight, the memo is authentic and appropriate in all ramifications.
“It is original and was issued by the ministry for the construction of a worship centre for a community of livestock farmers who were sacked and displaced in Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents and are being resettled in Ngarannam/Mafa Local Government, Borno State,” the Director of Information, FMARD, Theodore Ogaziechi, had said in a statement.
Nanono was born in the Gabasawa Local Government Area of Kano State on April 11, 1946, according to information available on the ministry’s website.
“He attended Zakirai and Gwarzo Primary Schools, Birnin Kudu Secondary School, Government College Kano from there he proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he obtained a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration in the year 1972.
“Also in 1977, he obtained his Master’s Degree in public policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison USA.
“The ex-minister also attended an Advanced Management Course at Harvard Business School, Boston Massachusetts In 1994.
“He was a university lecturer, civil servant, a farmer, a banker who rose to the position of Managing Director of African International Bank.
“He also attended several courses, conferences, workshops and seminars within and outside Nigeria. A fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria became the Chairman and board member of numerous organizations in Nigeria and married with children,” the citation read.