As a member of the committee saddled with the responsibility of finding a way to end banditry in Zamfara State, what do you think can bring a total end to the menace?
Honestly, we did a lot of work because we left no stone unturned. We subjected all those who appeared before the committee to thorough scrutiny. I asked my Emir who bestowed on me the traditional title of Wambai Shinkafi 68 questions during our sitting in Shinkafi. This was to show that no preferential treatment was given to anybody who appeared before our committee. Governor Bello Matawalle needs to implement the report submitted by the committee in order to end banditry in Zamfara State. Let us tell ourselves the truth, it is only when the governor acts on the recommendations of the committee by taking appropriate actions against those who are behind banditry in the state to serve as deterrent to others that we can move forward. Matawalle needs to implement the report. All those found to be involved, no matter their status in the society, must be made to face the law. Most of those indicted by our committee are among those who are now not happy about the current level of security brought about by the dialogue and reconciliation initiative of Governor Matawalle. During the committee’s sittings and investigations, we discovered that a lot of highly placed individuals and traditional rulers were among those supporting and fueling banditry which led to the death of 6,319 people while 3,672 were kidnapped with a ransom of about N2.8 billion paid in the last eight years.
How would you react to the recent letter by former governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, which led to the repeal of the law on the huge amounts paid as monthly pension and upkeep allowance to former governors, speakers and their deputies in the state?
I commend Governor Bello Matawalle and the state House of Assembly for taking the bold step of repealing the obnoxious law. Though if the assembly had known that there was a Court of Appeal judgment that abolished the payment of severance allowances, pension, upkeep allowances to all the governors in Nigeria, they would have given the old law one touch and thrown it away. Just three months to the end of his eight-year tenure, he got the assembly to do this wicked bill which is itching the masses of Zamfara State but the same House of Assembly has annulled the bill, the former governor assented to the bill and the new governor also assented to the bill repealing the old bill. It is very unfortunate to note that former Governor Abdul’Aziz Yari would be demanding for upkeep allowance just a few months after leaving office.
Do you have any information on whether the present governor inherited some liabilities or otherwise in the state.
This incumbent governor didn’t inherit one kobo in any of the commercial banks because the former governor left backlogs of liabilities worth over N400 billion. I have the facts and figures, I can prove it. Contractors are owed more than N251 billion; pension administrators N16 billion, banks N4.6 billion, workers’ pensions and gratuity N4.1 billion and bank loans over N57 billion are hanging on the necks of the masses of Zamfara State. Bailout funds, excess crude fund, budget facility fund worth over N65 billion tied to ISPO is still hanging on the people of Zamfara State. SME fund, N2 billion. It is very unfortunate. Instead of this man to go and address petitions against him at EFCC, he is going up and down causing confusion in Zamfara State. The former governor, who refused to pay 1,400 young graduates who were enrolled into the civil service their salaries for 60 months, is the same man now demanding for pension. This was a governor who refused to pay state and local government pensioners since 2012 up to this year 2019 when he left office. He refused to pay pension and gratuity. is same governor now looking for pension and upkeep allowance. This was a governor who refused to pay his predecessor, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi for over seven years. He is the same man now looking for pension and gratuity. This is a man who refused to implement N18,000 minimum wage, is now looking for N10 million upkeep allowance. He promised to pay women N20,000 but refused to pay and he is now demanding for N10 million monthly allowance. The same former governor, who refused to pay for NECO and WEAC; refused to buy vehicles for Emirs and principals, refused to promote primary school teachers and refused to pay them promotion arrears, is now asking for N10 million upkeep allowance.
You are a member of an opposition political party. Why are you so concerned about the PDP-led state government?
I am a leader of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Zamfara State; a former National Secretary of APGA and also a governorship candidate of APGA in the state in 2019. I contested with the incumbent governor and also the governorship Candidate of APC, whose nomination was voided by the Supreme Court. I am an indigene of Zamfara State, I am a son of the soil, I am a major stakeholder in Zamfara politics and also Nigerian politics. I have some friends who are now sitting presidents. President George Weah of Liberia is my personal friend and also the President of Sierra Leone. So I am not somebody who you can sweep under the carpet. As a major stakeholder in Nigerian politics, I was at the national confab in 2014 where we made over 600 recommendations on how to restructure this country politically, economically, socially and educationally and otherwise. So I cannot fold my arms and watch things go wrong in my dear state. The judgment of the Supreme Court is what gave birth to the present administration and as a Muslim I have faith, I believe in God, God gives power, God takes power. It is destiny, when God destines that you will be somewhere, you must be there. I urge each and every one of us to take the Governor Matawalle mandate as God’s divine mandate and we should accept it in good fate. When it is time for politics in 2023, you should come to the field and market yourself. If the electorate accepts you, fine and good but we cannot compromise the peace we are enjoying now in Zamfara State.
As one of the stakeholders, what call do you have to the people of the state?
What I want our people to know is that this is not time for politics but time for governance. You know my serious fight with this governor during the campaign period but now is not time for politics. We sat down with elders of this state and agreed to adopt Zamfara State as a political party and work for the masses to save our people from political slavery and political bondage and that is why I accepted to work for this government as part of a unity government and not as a member of the PDP. I am still in APGA as you can see around me, no shaking; no vibration, no retreat no surrender. I am still in APGA but I will work for Zamfara State.Read Full Story