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Commissioner queried for ’embarrassing’ government with shoe polish donation

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Borno State governor Kashim Shettima

Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, has queried his Commissioner for Higher Education and aspirant for the House of Representatives in 2019, Usman Jaha (Babawo) for distributing shoe polish and other items to youth in Gwoza as part of his welfare programme.

Photos of the donation went viral in the social media since Wednesday with most commentators ascribing it to the governor. Shoe polishing is one of the popular menial jobs many unemployed and out-of-school young people, especially in the north, take to.

Shettima, who felt angered by the donation, chided the official for embarrassing not only himself but the administration, a government official familiar with the development told newsmen yesterday.

“The governor reminded the commissioner that his own ministry has so far facilitated the approval of foreign universities scholarships to more than 300 Borno youth amongst them almost 100 ladies studying medicine abroad as part of the governor’s ‘standard’ in human resource development.

“The governor also reminded the commissioner that his ministry is the one building Borno’s first state university after 41 years of the state’s creation and therefore wondered why on earth the commissioner, who is a degree holder and has been visiting Borno students abroad, chose to distribute shoe polish as part of his own understanding of human capacity development for youths in Gwoza,” the official told journalists.

The governor’s spokesperson, Isa Gusau, declined to comment for the story as he was on leave. However, the commissioner issued a clarification explaining that the programme was his personal intervention based on the request from the beneficiaries.

“The programme is my personal effort and it is based on the peculiar needs of the beneficiaries in Gwoza. All communities have their needs and these needs change from time to time. In my years as a politician, who served at the Borno State Assembly before becoming a Commissioner, I have always interacted with constituents before making any welfare intervention.”


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