The executive director, Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development, Dr. Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi has dismissed the recent protest by Civil Society Advocacy Groups for Accountability and Probity at the National Assembly calling for the sack of the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State and Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Bello Matawalle as politically motivated.
In a statement he made available to LEADERSHIP in Abuja yesterday, he also described the action of the protesters unpatriotic and mischievous and issued a 14-day ultimatum to the leaders of the protest to tender an apology to the Minister or face the full wrath of the law for defamation of character.
Dr. Shinkafi said the ill-conceived protest and spurious allegations against Matawalle was allegedly sponsored by Zamfara State governor Dauda Lawal as a face-saving device to cover his gross incompetence and failure to provide security, progressive leadership, good governance and dividends of democracy to the people.
He said the Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Bello Matawalle is a man of integrity, an astute administrator, renowned civil servant, eminent Commissioner in Zamfara State, distinguished Legislator, outstanding Governor and passionate Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who successfully scaled all security screenings and documentations, and had no petition by individuals or groups against his nomination at the National Assembly before his screening and confirmation as Minister. “He is a man of impeccable character, high moral standard and an embodiment of patriotism who served 12 years as a member of the House of Representatives and was Chairman of the House Committee on Security and Intelligence for four years.
The frivolous allegation that Matawalle hoarded utility vehicles is subjudice as the matter is before the Federal High Court Sokoto. It is mischievous to politicize a matter before a court of competent jurisdiction,” he said.
He insisted that Governor Dauda Lawal did not constitute any Administrative Panel of Inquiry let alone invited Matawalle to give account of his stewardship as governor of Zamfara State, adding that the allegation of Matawalle being indicted by a panel of inquiry is false, a fabrication and political propaganda to tarnish his reputation by political jobbers and their sponsors. “It is obvious that the rented crowd called protesters were not conversant with the Supreme Court judgement which declared that only a court of competent jurisdiction could indict a person of any criminal offence, not a Federal or State Government Administrative Panel of Inquiry.
“The allegation of embezzlement of Zamfara State International Cargo Airport funds is the figment of the fertile imagination of the rented crowd who did not know that the award and execution of the project is a Public-Private Partnership. The project was initiated by the Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi and Abdullazizi Yari administrations and abandoned. It was Governor Bello Matawalle’s government that implemented it as part of his legacy project. The airport run-way is about 80% completed with other structures. The company handling its construction AVIC International Holding Corporation has sued Zamfara State Government to court for defamation of character against its managing director and the organization for alleged embezzlement and diversion of Zamfara State funds, ” he said.
He said the spurious allegation of diversion of billions of naira by protesters is mischievous, false and diversionary to cover up the failure of Dauda Lawal in providing security of lives and property and fruits of democracy. He noted that Lawal has sacked more than 8000 civil servants aside awarding contracts without due process, projects that are not in the state budget and not approved by the State Executive Council worth billions of naira to his cronies.
He claimed that since Lawal assumed office as governor the security situation in the state has persistently gotten worse.
“People are killed, kidnapped for ransom, women raped and citizens displaced from their communities yet the governor takes pleasure in junketing around the globe while the state burns.
It is obvious that the leaders and members of the groups are not from Zamfara State, have never travelled to the state and don’t know the history of banditry which started for over a decade before the administration of Matawalle would link him to the insecurity in the state,” he said.
“For the record, banditry started from farmers and herders clashes, to cattle rustling, manifested to kidnaping for ransom, killings, displacement of people from rural communities, rape, imposition of levies to farmers and communities if they want to cultivate or harvest their farms by bandits.
Governor Matawalle inherited security challenges from his predecessors and did his best to restore peace, stability and socio-economic activities in the state when he assumed office on 29th May, 2019 as governor of the state,” he said.
He also appealed to armed bandits and their sponsors to embrace peace and lay down their arms and reintegrate themselves to the society.
He noted that Matawalle initiated peace dialogue with bandits calling on them to surrender and embrace peace and disarm themselves completely and their camps in the forest or hideouts. He said many of the notorious armed bandits accepted the peace dialogue of Dr Bello Matawalla administration. “They surrendered their arms and ammunition comprising of sophisticated weapons, rocket launchers, RPG guns, explosives, AK-47, AK-49, locally fabricated guns, which are on record submitted to the Commissioner of Police and deposited into the Police’s armoury. The governor constituted a committee called Zamfara State Committee for Finding Lasting Solution for Armed Bandits which was headed by the former Inspector General of Police, M. D. Abubakar. He constituted several committees, Security Intelligence Gathering Committee headed by former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mamman Tsafe, Zamfara State Committee for Prosecution of Armed Bandits headed by Alhaji (Dr) Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi and Committee Protection Guardes (CPG), trained and commissioned by the Mobile Police Squadron Zamfara State Command, headed by retired Commissioner of Police, CP Mamman Anka.
The then governor bought more than 300 Hilux vehicles for security agencies in the state which comprised of Army, Airforce, Police, Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, Road Safety, Customs, Immigration, Correctional Services, Zarota and Hisbah Commission,” he said.