A year after about 200 tonnes of date donated by Saudi Arabia to poor Nigerians were diverted to the open market, the Nigerian government is yet to identify the culprits.
The dates were donated by Saudi Arabia for last year’s Ramadan fast for free distribution to persons displaced by Boko Haram as well as mosques where they could have been assessed freely by fasting Muslims.
Dates are Islamically the first things Muslims are expected to eat when they break the Ramadan fast daily.
After the donation and arrival of the dates, it was discovered that they were not distributed as instructed, but were instead sold on the streets for profit in some parts of Abuja and Borno State.
The Nigerian government admitted the situation, published an apology to Saudi Arabia and pledged to investigate the perpetrators of the scandal.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which apologised on behalf of the government, pledged to investigate the incident.
The Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim, in the statement apologised for the “unfortunate turn of events”.
“This is not the spirit in which the 200 tonnes of dates was given,” she said.
The 200 tonnes is equivalent to about 200,000 kilogrammes of dates or about 4,000 units of 50kg bags filled with dates. The market value, based on PREMIUM TIMES findings is about N20 million.