WikkiTimes Stands by its reporting on N5 billion for Foodstuffs, Refreshments by Bauchi Govt 

The Bauchi State government’s response, accusing WikkiTimes of manipulating facts to create sensational falsehoods is not true. WikkiTimes stands firm by its reporting on Bauchi State’s expenditure of over N5 billion for foodstuffs and refreshments in 2023, despite the government’s rebuttal. WikkiTimes argues its reporting aligns with official government documents as contained in a 74-page budget performance report released by the state. This comprehensive analysis, backed by undeniable figures, explains a disturbing disparity between essential infrastructure spending and non-essential expenditures. While the government defends its actions, WikkiTimes remains committed to journalistic integrity and transparency, urging a thorough reconsideration of the facts presented in the government’s response to its publication.

The Bauchi state government has reacted to a WikkiTimes report that stated that the state spent over N5 billion for foodstuffs and refreshments in 2023. This was contained in a press statement by the special adviser on media and publicity to the governor, Mukhtar Gidado and obtained by WikkiTimes.

The statement read in part;”Our attention has been drawn to a news item orchestrated by WikkiTimes and reported by Sahara Reporters to manipulate and twist obvious facts in order to create sensational but deliberate falsehood and mislead the public.”

“The report should be condemned in its entirety for desecrating all the rules of journalism. In the first place, the report that the state government spent over N5B on foodstuff and refreshments than the combined budget for provision of water facilities, education and health services is FALSE and MISCHIEVOUS. It is a figment of the imagination of the writer.”

“In the second place, assuming without conceding that there were any grounds to suspect a skewed budgetary allocation or performance, the author made no attempt whatsoever to crosscheck or seek further explanation with the relevant government departments to ensure a fair and balanced reportage.”

“In the third place, the cardinal journalism dictum that facts are sacred and opinion free was jettisoned by the author who recklessly oscillated between ‘fact’ and opinion, forcing a fiction down the throats of unsuspecting members of the public.”

“This could have been the result of the pre-determined posture of the authors of the story whose blind rage against the Bala Mohammed Administration has equally blinded them to every canon of journalism.”

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Going on the state claimed that the expenditure on food items was made possible by a structured loan and grant facility to acquire food items for distribution.

It is no news that, arising from the removal of petroleum subsidy and the associated hardship, the Federal Government and the various State Governments had agreed to take action to mitigate the sufferings of the people. In that respect, the Federal Government announced the arrangement to provide each State with N5billion, under a structured loan and grant facility, to acquire food items for distribution to citizens as palliatives to ameliorate their sufferings as an emergency intervention. It is also a fact that only N2billion was ultimately disbursed by the Federal Government.”

“Under the arrangement, States were to purchase 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage that had arisen. Additionally, 180 trucks of rice were to be distributed by the Central Bank of Nigeria with a call for individual states to augment such arrangements in order to expand the benefits to a greater number of citizens.”

“In view of the disbursement of only N2 Billion, the State had purchased 88,889 bags of rice of 25kg and had released additional funding of N2billion for the procurement of additional quantities of grains as well as settlement of outstanding gratuities and leave grants to civil servants to provide further succour.”


WikkiTimes maintains that its reporting on the financial figures is accurate and truthful. This assertion is supported by a 74-page document on budget performance report released by the Bauchi State government, detailing its fourth quarter spending in 2023. The document corroborates the exact figures reported by WikkiTimes. Specifically, on page 32 within the section titled “Materials & Supplies-General,” an entry listed third from the bottom, identified by the code 22020311, reveals the state government’s expenditure of N4,542,604,244.00. This figure, which was also referenced by the Governor’s media aide in his reply to the publication, significantly exceeds the original budget allocation of N202,000,000.00. 

Specifically WikkiTimes argues as follows:

  1. On the expenditure for foodstuffs and refreshments: The figure for expenditure on foodstuffs and refreshments reported by WikkiTimes was published by the Bauchi state government in its budget performance reports. The budget performance reports gives an overview of the government expenditure and it is surprising that the Bauchi state government attacks the report, the reporter and the media organisation  despite reporting facts as published on its own website.
  2.  exactly what it posted in its own report.

The report published by WikkiTimes noted that the government spent the sum of over N5 billion on foodstuffs and refreshments, and this is rightfully so.

In our earlier publication, we reported  that the government initially proposed the sum of N202 million (see page 32 as captured in the above screenshot) and later approved a  sum of N4.754 billion  for foodstuffs. This is a statement  of fact  based on the government data published on the state’s website. It is also a fact that the  sum of N4.542 billion was  spent on foodstuffs as the state government itself publicly reported. WikkiTimes also reported that additional expenditures relating to food stuffs, entertainment include; the sum of N37.060 million for entertainment found on page 31 of the document with code number 21020157. Another N112.6 million for meal subsidy with code number 21020126, another N531.2 million found on page 33 of the government report with code number 22021001 as well as N1.246 billion for “Meal subsidy (public/public institutions)” found on page 34 of the government published reports with code number 22050102. Refuted this figures the government published itself is ridiculous and insulting to the public

  1. In its defence, Bauchi State government argued that the funding was a loan from the Federal Government, WikkiTimes did not contend that claim. We only reported that N5 billion was expended on food stuffs and refreshments whether funded by loan or by other means.
  2. Loans are not gifts, they are meant to be refunded, so the fact that the state says it got a loan does not mean that the expenditure did not occur. 
  3. By the way, Bauchi is one of the highest indebted states in northern Nigeria, despite its sluggish pace to industrialise. See WikkiTimes report of March 2023 here.
  4. Therefore, the government’s claim of witchhunt appears more manipulative than instructive.

The government also attempted to twist the facts in its statement when it said that ;

“Specifically, the sum of N4,542,604,244 was reported as expenses incurred under the distribution of foodstuffs, catering and materials supply. This comprised of the palliatives distributed as noted earlier as well as relief materials which included food items and building materials that were provided at various times within the year to victims and communities of the flood disasters that occured in various Local Governments in the State that had led to the destruction of homes and farmlands;food and material support for Internally Displaced Persons who had sought refuge in the State from crises in their primary places of residences in neighbouring states;and for victims of various fire and other natural disasters that occured accross the State.”

It is unclear when “Foodstuffs/Catering Materials” became some form of building material. For better context, a quick google search of “catering materials” shows that, “Catering Equipment is used to describe appliances and equipment used in the Foodservice Industry. Catering equipment is used in a commercial setting, where food is provided to customers or employees. For example, when making food in restaurants, hotels and cafes.” 

How this became “building materials” in Bauchi, remains unclear. Again, the government lied here.

  1. The government did not deny other expenses as reported by WikkiTimes, instead making concerted efforts to downplay the facts.

It states: “The writer had however added up to that Meal Subsidy and Entertainment  of N149.7 million incurred in all the MDAs as part of Personnel Cost; Meal Subsidy to Public Schools (schools feeding) in the sum of N 1.25 billion; as well as expenses incurred on Refreshment and Meals for events, hosting business and other official missions from Federal Government agencies and delegations from international partners across all MDAs throughout the year in the sum of over N531 Million”. 

Bauchi State government only reiterated the WikkiTimes report that it spent N149 million for meal subsidy and entertainment (N112 million for meal subsidy and N37 million for entertainment), N1.25 billion for meal subsidy (public and public institutions) and N531 million for refreshment and meals. 

 Therefore, there should be no need for name calling since our report reflects the same facts they published.

The Bauchi State government  accused Wikkitimes of sensationalism for reporting  that it spent N6.49 billion, on foodstuffs, refreshments and meals. The government is doing exactly what it has accused WikkiTimes of “sensationalism”.

 Our report was clear (that the total of N6.49 billion was not for meals alone but the addition of meals and subsidy, entertainment, meals and subsidy (public and public institutions), foodstuffs and refreshments.

The claim that WikkiTimes has a history of failing  to consult the government or its agencies for their perspective is inaccurate. WikkiTimes has made numerous attempts to contact the government for comments and has sought interviews, but these efforts have often been met with no response. The organization has submitted multiple Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to various state agencies and its reporters have personally made several attempts to secure interviews, only to be ignored, have their requests denied, or receive unfulfilled promises. The screenshots below illustrates some of the FOI requests sent by WikkiTimes that the government has overlooked.

  1. On Budget Performance of Other Sectors

“The writer’s analogy to reflect under-delivery in the performance of the State in Agriculture, Water Supply, Healthcare delivery and Education were, to say the least, absolute falsehood and ignoble. The Budget performance report had indicated the State’s achievement of a 77.2% performance of its water supply budget in the sum of N2,543,577,442.85 as against only N1.302 billion reported by the writer.”

“Going into specifics, the state had incurred the sum of N425.3 million for Rehabilitation and Repairs of Water facilities; N1.302 billion for the Construction and Provision of water facilities; N469.82million for the Purchase of Water Facilities and Equipment; as well as Personnel Costs in excess of N296.87 million. Similarly, in Agriculture, the State met 67.3% of its budget in the sum of N2.28 billion which included Purchase of Agricultural Equipment of over N367.8million; Construction of Agricultural facilities of N239.4million; and Personnel Costs of N1.425billion among others. The author had reported only the N239.4 million in his write-up.”

“In Healthcare, the State met 78% of its budget with total actual expenditure of N17.99billion which included the purchase of Health/Medical Equipment in the sum of over N5.69billion; Construction/Provision of Hospitals/Health Centres in the sum of over 1.414billion; Rehabilitation of Health Centres at over N606.4million; and a Personnel Cost of over N7.07billion. Only the N1.414billion was noted by the writer.

For the Education Sector; the sum of N22.06billion representing 78.2% of the budget was achieved as against the N690million naughtily reported by the writer. The achievements included the Purchase of Teaching and Learning Equipment of N160.9million; Purchase of Books and Equipment in the sum of over N581.7million; Construction/Provision of Public Schools at over N176.5million; Rehabilitation and Repairs of Public Schools/Libraries and Sports Facilities at over N705.98million; and Personnel Costs of N12.67billion.

Related to ICT; one would indeed be surprised as to why only N34.174m for Construction of ICT Centres was isolated and reported when there are other additional achievements that included Maintenance of Office ICT Equipment of N255.2million; Purchase of Computers of N35.7million; Software Charges and Renewal of N61.96million; Internet Access of over N35million; ICT Consulting of N18.2million; and Rehabilitation of ICT Infrastructure of over N9.07million among others.


Bauchi State Government’s response seems more like an attempt to sidestep the actual findings than to address them directly. If the government’s media team had carefully read WikkiTimes report, they would have recognized the accuracy of our findings.

WikkiTimes reporting accurately mentions that N1.302 billion was allocated for the development of water facilitiure confirmed by the state’s budget performance reports.

The story also mentions that the state invested N1.414 billion in the construction of hospitals and health centers which is substantiated by data from the same budget performance reports.

Our reporting clearly demonstrates that government spending on foodstuffs, meal subsidies, entertainment, and refreshments far surpasses expenditures on constructing/providing hospitals/health centres, water facilities, and agricultural infrastructure. This accurate analysis, as presented by WikkiTimes citing official government documents, reveals the stark contrast in priorities. For instance, the government allocated N1.414 billion for the construction/provision of hospitals/health centres (code: 23020104) and N1.302 billion for water facilities (code: 23020105), both detailed on page 35 of the document. Additionally, N239.4 million was spent on agricultural facilities (page 35), and N690.2 million on repairing public schools (code: 23030106), as reported by WikkiTimes. However, these combined figures pale in comparison to the massive expenditures on foodstuffs, meal subsidies, and entertainment,  explains the essence of WikkiTimes’ reporting. Any conflicting information circulated serves only to mislead the public. In essence, our reporting  detailed the glaring disparity between government spending on essential infrastructure and non-essential expenditures, as corroborated by the budget performance document, owned and published by the government itself.

WikkiTimes  STAND

Having carefully studied the response of the Bauchi State Government, WikkiTimes suspects that Comrade Mukhtar Gidado, the Special Adviser Media and Publicity to the Governor, did not comprehend our reporting before  rushing  to issue a disjointed disclaimer. 

Our report  that the government spent N690 million on rehabilitation of public schools and spent six times of this on meals, foodstuffs and refreshments is accurate. We urge the comrade to take a second look at WikkiTime report before making further public comment on this subject.His attempt to disregard WikkiTimes  report is an indirect attempt to rubbish the information and data published by the Bauchi State government. 

It’s concerning that the Bauchi State Government’s response to our reporting included unfounded allegations; accusing WikkiTimes of a witch hunt. It’s important to clarify that Bauchi State is not the only state the outlet has covered in its reporting on budget performance. Our investigations span across many parts of Northern Nigeria, promoting transparency and accountability. We hope that the notion of accountability is not perceived as a witch hunt by the Bauchi State Government, considering journalism serves the public interest and the government itself is accountable to the public.

The government concluded that the state has upheld high standards in Public Financial Management and remains committed to transparency and accountability in governance. They reminded the public about the availability of the State’s Budget Performance Report for 2023 on the official website, which puts their achievement at  86.8% in budget implementation. They deemed this performance commendable and criticised any attempts to question the numbers.

However, we believe it would be more prudent for the government to allow the citizens of Bauchi State, who elected them to serve, to assess their performance rather than engaging in premature self-praise.


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