A former Nigerian state governor who is accused of stealing public funds while in office has ‘donated’ millions of naira to residents for Sallah celebrations.
Bello Matawalle, who lost his second term bid as Zamfara State governor and left office on 29 May, is being investigated by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, for allegedly stealing billions of naira of state funds while in office.
Apart from graft allegations, Mr Matawalle’s government also failed to pay workers’ salaries for three months.
However, on Sunday, the state’s Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tukur Danfulani, in a statement, said the ex-governor donated N200 million to his supporters in the state for Sallah celebrations.
Mr Danfulani said the beneficiaries include party members, stakeholders, women, youth groups and organisations in the state.
Mr Danfulani, who is the chairman of the distribution committee, said other beneficiaries of the support were orphans, the less privileged, Islamic scholars, media practitioners, and social media influencers and handlers.
“The gesture is aimed at assisting people to celebrate the upcoming 2023 Eid-el-Kabir festival with ease.
“The committee had already started the distribution of the money to all the beneficiaries,” he said.
Mr Danfulani, who thanked Mr Matawalle for the gesture, described it as timely, saying it will cushion the economic hardship among the citizens in the state, especially at the grassroots.
The party chairman promised that the committee would ensure that all the intended beneficiaries receive the donation before the Sallah celebration on Wednesday.
A few days before Mr Matawalle left office as Zamfara governor, the EFCC said it was investigating him for diverting N70 billion from the state treasury.
“The real issue with Matawalle is that he is being investigated by the EFCC, over allegations of corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70 billion,” said Osita Nwajah, EFCC’s Director of Public Affairs.
The ex-governor, in response during an interview, accused the now suspended EFCC Chairman, Abdurrashid Bawa, of asking for a $2 million bribe from him, an allegation the EFCC said was untrue.
When he was in office, Mr Matawalle also failed to pay Zamfara State workers three months’ salaries for March, April and May. While some workers were paid in February, several others were not paid for the same month, making it four months for some of the workers.
No reasons were officially given for the failure to pay the salaries.