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December 2, 2023

Cargo Airport: We didn’t embezzle public funds, Zamfara APC dismisses Gov Lawal’s claim

From Ibrahim Kaulahi, Gusau

The Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress APC has dismissed claim by Governor Dauda Lawal that his predecessor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle, had embezzled huge sums of public funds on Cargo Airport awarded contract been inherited by his administration.

In a statement by the State Publicity Secretary, Malam Yusuf Idris and made available to newsmen in Gusau the state capital, expressed that the party was surprised to see a recent writeup emanating from the PDP-led government out of which it saw the desirous need to correct the claim by putting the records in the right perspective.

It challenged that the claim is the attack on his predecessor and Minister of (State) Defence, Bello Mohammed Matawalle over the multi-billion naira Zamfara Cargo Airport project being executed before he lost election to the current PDP Governor.

“We will want to categorically state that, since government is a continuous process, Governor Dauda is fully aware of the actual and true position of things on the matter but chose to deceive the people of the state due to the unconfessed hate and disdain he has for Matawalle.

“The current Governor is also using misinformation to coverup his failure especially in squarely addressing insecurity in Zamfara where bandits have virtually taken control of the state in bloodletting spree of innocent citizens while the governor is irresponsibly engaged in street dancing in Imo state as if he is expressing his joy over the killings of his people.

“As a retired banker, Dauda Lawal very well knows that the cargo airport contract was based on what is called ‘Contract financing’ which in this case is between Zamfara State government and private entities whereby funding banks have to assess every step in the progress of work being carried out, raise certificate therefrom before payment is effected.

“Before Matawalle left office, significant progress was recorded on the project, thus while the Governor was mischievously saying that only his imaginable 19 percent of progress was achieved. He forgot that there are different components of the project.

“To put the records straight therefore, our people need to know that payment was made on the project through which comprised many components, making a composite attainment of over 30 percent stage of work completed. The project is open for public scrutiny, Zamfara people are free to go and see for themselves.

The statement further revealed that, “However, let’s delve into this for the sake of our people who might not have time to visit the site, on the Runway, there had been excavation, filling, and compaction of two kilometres out 3.4 kilometres completed, one kilometre clearance- completed, Taxing way of 500 metres, clearance, excavation,filling and compaction completed, Apron area 200/2 metres of 190 metres, with clearance, excavation, filling, and compaction completed.

“Similarly, the Terminal-Level iron rafter is at 50 per cent stage of completion, Water pool is at 90 per cent completion while water reservoir has been fully completed with all Boreholes drilled and completed. The cargo itself is therefore at 75 per cent stage of completion, fire station, 75 per cent completed” it further explained.

According to it, “Wire Fence is 75 per cent completed, Link road of 1.5 kilometres clearing, filling, and compaction completed, unfortunately the Governor directed for the scrapping of the road after it was completed for reasons that only him can tell our people.

“Airport access dual road, gate and drainages have all been completed with environment assessment by the federal Ministry of Aviation carried out and completed. It must also be noted that the Matawalle-led government never ventured into this project blindly or ignorantly because it was aimed to upgrade Zamfara to higher pedastal,

“So it involved all concerned authorities from the Federal Ministry of Aviation to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA to the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency NAMA as well as the engagement of competent consultant who all have all the documents involved.

“With the foregoing, therefore, we challenge Governor Lawal to bring out the true documents as well as give reasons on why he is destroying structure at the airport, he should also tell the tax payers why he has vehemently refused to look into the contractor’s call for variation of the project from N11 billion to N25 billion which was necessitated by the high cost of materials.

“The Governor must explain to us how he feels when his people are massacred on a daily basis but he chose not to even visit to sympathize with victims and their families but could travel to other places and release his videos dancing in public”, the statement has challenged.

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Mustapha Salisu

Mustapha Salisu is a graduate of BSc. Information and Media Studies from Bayero University Kano, with experience in Communication Skills as well as Public Relations.

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