Zamfara: Matawalle, Yari Bicker Over State Liability

The Chairman of the transition commitee and immediate past Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mallam Ibrahim Wakkala Muhammad, has sparked off another raging controversy over alleged high profile debt and liability left behind by the former government of Abdul-Aziz Yari.
The colossal debt and liabilityallegedly left behind by the administration of Yari was purportedly to the tune of N251, 951,849,482.50 as liability to the new administration of Governor Bello Matawalle.
Muhammad spoke on the alleged debt profile while addressing journalists at the transition committee Secretariat, Government House, Gusau, recently.
The press conference addressed among others, the report of extractions from an earlier version of the report of the transition committee of the immediate past government.
According to the report, the total liability drawn from ongoing projects as submitted by the last administration itself under economic, environmental, general administration and social sectors stands at the sum of N151, 190,477,572.02 (One Hundred and Fifty-One Billion, One Hundred and Ninety Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Seventy-Two Naira, Two Kobo).
It added that liabilities from Ministry of Finance includes outstanding loans, contact retention, bailouts and bank loans which left a burden of N65, 361,873,755.75 (Sixty-Five Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty-One Million, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Five Naira, Seventy-Five Kobo), while liabilities from the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs was put at the sum of N35, 399,498,154.53 (Thirty-Five Billion, Three Hundred and Ninety-Nine Million, Four Hundred and Ninety-Eight Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty-Four Naira, Fifty-Three Kobo).
Furthermore, the report added that deductions towards National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme contributions to enable the state’s civil servants own and comfortably retire in their personal houses as well as Contributory Pensions Scheme deductible from workers salaries, non remittance of these funds amounted to the sum of N1, 431,645,305.99 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Thirty-One Million, Six Hundred and Forty-Five Thousand, Three Hundred and Five Naira, Ninety-Nine Kobo) even as the amount was deducted from the workers’ salaries between 2016 and 2019 as the money have not been remitted to the respective organizations.
In the area of Education, it noted that the sector has suffered from the deprivation of an unexplained sum of N2, 812,172,155 (Two Billion, Eight Hundred and Twelve Million, One Hundred and Seventy-Two Thousand One Hundred and Fifty-Five Naira which had denied several indigent secondary school leavers from furthering their education over the years as they could not collect their results due to the government’s failure to settle the bills as promised.
It added that “Although the past government claimed to have settled outstanding gratuity to retired civil servants following the approval of the sum of N2, 000,000,000 (Two Billion Naira) by the ex-governor, the committee discovered that only retired Permanent Secretaries benefited and that only about N400, 000,000 (Four Hundred Million) was utilized while the remaining N1. 6 billion (One Billion, Six Hundred Million) is still unaccounted for.”
However, the allegations of the committee was outrightly rejected by the former governor who reacted swifty through his media aide, Ibrahim Dosara.
Dosara maintained that the past administration of Yari left no single debt but rather left behind seven billion naira for the administration to start with.
“Let me put it clear that the part administration left no debt behind but rather handed over the sum of seven billion naira to the new government”, he said.
He further explained that the chairman of the transition committee, who was the immediate deputy governor failed to distinguish between borehole and motorized borehole.
According to him, the transition committee ought distinguished between debt and  funds for the completion of ongoing project.
He also described the claims of the committee on the outstanding bank loan as false, saying “state government was not owing any bank”.
Dorasa however, wondered how a former deputy governor who served the administration for eight years could mislead the public with false claims.
He urged the people of the state to disregard the claims of the transition committee which according to him was aimed at smearing the name of Yari’s administration.
The uproar had generated public attention and concern and has led the governorship candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state, Alhaji Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi to write a petition to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) requesting for the probe and prosecution of the former governor over the alleged debt.
In the said petition, Shinkafi demanded for the Investigation/Prosecution of Yari over alleged misappropriation of ovder N251 billion
“We are compelled to bring to your attention the wanton looting and misappropriation of funds to the tune of N251 billion belonging to Zamfara State by the immediate past administration of Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari.
We call on the Commission to investigate and prosecute former Governor of Zamfara State Abdulaziz Yari over the misappropriation, diversion, siphoning  and financial recklessness of N251billion as alleged by the Transition Committee Chairman headed by the immediate  past  Deputy Governor of the Zamfara State Malam Ibrahim Wakkala”, the petition stated.
Also commenting on the raging controversy, a lecturer in the History Department of the Federal University, Gusau, Mallan Anas Sani, said the chairman of tne transition Mallan Ibrahim Wakkala should have waited patiently till all the sub-committees submitted their findings, so that areas of differences between the report submitted by the former governor and that of the transition committee set up by the current governor can be ascertained.
“It is unnecessary for the members of the transition committee to start pointing fingers at the past government when their final report was not presented to the government”, he said.
He recalled that in 2011 when the then Yari-led government came to power, he waited until the final report was submitted, then it set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate it under the chairmanship of Justice Nasir Gummi.
He therefore called on Matawalle to caution his transition committee members to desist from over heating the polity and restrict themselves to the terms and references of their assignment.

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