Re-Matawalle’s Administration Embezzled Billions of Naira From Abandoned Zamfara Cargo Airport: A Response by Former Governor Bello Matawalle.

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OFFICE OF THE FORMER ZAMFARA GOV BELLO MATAWALLE.

PRESS STATEMENT

Re-Matawalle’s Administration Embezzled Billions of Naira From Abandoned Zamfara Cargo Airport: A Response by Former Governor Bello Matawalle

The attention of the immediate past Government of Zamfara State under Hon (Dr) Bello Mohammed Matawllen Maradun MFR, has been drawn to a press statement issued by Governor Dauda Lawal Dare in which the Gov accuses the immediate past administration of former Gov Matawalle of embezzling public funds in billions.

It is in response to this baseless and unfounded claim and allegation, and in order to put matters on record in their true perspective, that I wish to submit the following facts on the cargo Airport project contract:-

The immediate past Government under Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun inherited the Cargo Airport Project from its predecessor. As government is a continuous process, former Gov Matawalle saw the need to consider completing the project for its numerous benefits to the people of the state and beyond. I want to bring to the attention of the general public that it is only Zamfara State that has no an Airport of its own, up to the time of this press statement. After due deliberations in council, it was agreed that the project be continued. As a follow up to the state Executive Council’s resolution and decision on the project, contractors were invited to bid for the contract to execute the Cargo Airport Project. After reaching agreement and in consultation with the Federal Airport Authority that Matawalle government immediately mobilized the contractors to site to handle the project to its timely completion.
In the first instance, a bill of 28, 000, 000, 000 ( Twenty-eight Billion Naira ) was submitted to the government for consideration. However, due to the foresight and prudence of the former Gov Matawalle, his government rejected the bill which the former Gov considered outrageous and crazy. The former Gov therefore insisted that the amount be down reviewed to considerable sum, which was down sized to 11, 000, 000, 000 ( Eleven Billion Naira only ).
For those who are unaware of the funding process of this project, let me bring it to your knowledge that the project was being funded through a banking arrangement known as “Contract financing”. This means an agreement between Zamfara State government and some private companies involving funding banks who released money only on the satisfaction that the certificates raised by government is commensurate to the works done on site. Mr Lawal Dare been an expert banker knows what this means.

I wonder how monies meant for the project under this banking arrangement could have been embezzled by the former Gov.

For the record, the following compartments of the contract were carried out and have reached various stages of completion as follows:
1. Access Roads –

a. Airport access dual road, Gate and Drainages have all been completed
with environment assessment by the Federal Ministry of Aviation carried out and completed.

b. The 1.5 kilometres Link road is cleared, sand filled and compaction completed. However in his attempt to causemischief to the immediate pastadministration, Gov Dauda Lawal ordrred for the scrapping of the road.

c. Runway has been excavated, sand filling carried out with compaction of two kilometres out of the 3.4 kilometres completed as well as the clearance of one kilometre completed.

d. Taxing way of 500 metres, clearance, excavation, sand filling and compaction were carried out and completed.

e. Apron area which is 200/2 metres of 190 metres was cleared with excavation, sand filling and compaction were completed.

2. Terminal-Level iron rafter is at 50 per cent stage of completion.

3. Water pool is at 90 per cent completion, while the water reservoir of the cargo airport has been fully completed with all Boreholes drilled across the airport have been completed.

4. The cargo itself is at 75 per cent stage of completion with its fire station at 75 per cent of completion.

5. The cargo airport wire fence is at 75 per cent stage of completion.

6. Regarding the airport Mast, the NCAA was urged to advise the neighbouring Air Force Base to move it from the current location in order to avoid interruption at the airport.

6. Again, all the relevant and concerned authorities including the Federal Ministry of Aviation, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency NAMA were involved in the professional execution of the project.

7. The services of competent consultant were engaged in the execution of the cargo airport with all relevant documents at hand.

The Contractor, the consultant and the Supervising bank are all available for the government of Dauda Lawal to investigate and ascertain the reality of things regarding the contract rather than rushing to press birking like a wild dog, making unjustified media trial of the former Governor and his government.

How can the former Gov being an honest and sincere great leader who saved the state government resources in this the project, be accused of embezzlement of public funds in this project?

This is indeed, nothing but a calculated mischief and diversionary tactics of Gov Dauda Lawal as he specialises in diverting peoples attention from his insensitivity, failure and inability to fulfil his campaign promises on tackling security concerns bedeviling the state immediately after his assumption of office.
This campaign of calumny embarked upon by Gov Lawal Dare cannot save him from the slumber of his administration. We therefore condemned in its entirety, this criminal way of governance. It is a complete irresponsibility of the highest order by the Lawal Dare administration to divert peoples attention from his government incompetence, failure, lack of vision, mission and direction.

Rather than concentrating on massive drive and efforts towards finding lasting solutions to the lingering security concerns of the state, the Gov is now chasing wild goose in search of ways to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the former Governor and his government. Just as he did when he took over power from the immediate past administration when he accused the former Gov of looting the state, including the government House which he is presently residing in with his entire family due to the Standard quality of the structure the immediate past administration has put in Palace.
It may be recalled that the same Dauda Lawal Dare and his supporters went out on rampage looting public and private property when INEC announced that the Govership election was won by the PDP.
It may also be recalled that Gov Daud Lawal ordered his government officials to go round the state house to house in search of personal assets and belongings of officials of the immediate past administration seizing and confiscating their valuables.

We understand that it is because of the failure of Dauda Lawal Dare’s administration to deal with the issues at hands, that is the tackling of security challenges facing the state, he is now exploring ways of diverting the attention of the public by trying to attack the personality of the former Governor Matawalle, now Minister of state Defence.

The former Gov who vehemently rejected the outrageous and crazy bill of 28 Billion Naira initially presented to his government ordering its down review to 11 billion Naira can
embezzle such amount of money alleged by governor Dauda Lawal Dare.

Let me at this juncture, categorically challenge Dauda Lawal to honestly order for the true and sincere assessment of the works done on the project which is 30 percent, rather than the insincere assessment which he put at 19 percent. The work done on tge project is even more than the original contract sums of 11 Billion Naira, for Gov dare’s information.

I therefore want use this medium to request Gov Lawal Dare to pay attention to the most crucial and critical need of the people of Zamfara State, which is the tackling of security concerns headon, with a view to stopping the ongoing carnage in the state. It is no longer business as usual when people fold their hands and closed their eyes to bad governance. People of Sakajiki recently took to street, blocking the access road linking Gusau and Kaura Namoda protesting lack of tangible government action on the rampant abduction, killings and maiming of their people, including the aged, women and children. This is in addition to the several attacks and killings, abduction and maiming of hundreds of innocent people across the state, particularly in Tsafe, Maru, Maradun, Anka, Gusau, Bakura and Talata Mafara and Kaura Namoda local government areas of the state.
The immediate past administration of former Gov Matawalle left the state better than he met it when he took over power on May 29th 2019. Let the government of Dauda Lawal Dare follow suit by tacking the state security concerns rather than chasing wild goose in search of Matawalle’s faults.

Signed
Ibrahim Dosara
Former Commissioner of information of the immediate past administration of Governor Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun, MFR.

19/10/2023.

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