In a recent development in Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, vehicles were taken from the home of Bello Matawalle, the former governor. According to sources interviewed by Daily Trust, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) were seized during a raid on Matawalle’s GRA residence in Gusau on Friday.
Matawalle’s successor, Governor Dauda Lawal, accused him of taking 17 automobiles from his office and the deputy governor’s office, claiming that they were his personal property. The allegations were made by Governor Lawal during a radio interview where he highlighted that even office supplies were not spared.
While the exact number of vehicles recovered could not be confirmed by Daily Trust, an unnamed source mentioned that four jeeps were seized. Policemen reportedly stormed Matawalle’s residence, which is located near the Government House in Gusau.
Efforts to reach ASP Yazdi Abubakar, the Police Public Relations Officer in Zamfara, for comments were unsuccessful as his phone rang unanswered. Zailani Bappa, the Special Adviser on Public Enlightenment, Media, and Communication to the former governor, was also unavailable as his mobile lines were switched off.
Governor Lawal, who assumed power just two days prior, accused Matawalle of leaving with 17 government vehicles and looting items such as televisions and cookers from the state government house. He expressed his commitment to rectifying the situation and addressing the anomalies.
On Saturday, Governor Lawal issued an ultimatum to Matawalle, giving him five days to return the allegedly taken vehicles. In a statement released by his spokesman, Sulaiman Idris, Lawal vowed to recover looted funds and state government properties. He cited evidence and records that exposed Matawalle’s alleged misconduct, including a contract for the purchase of vehicles awarded to Hafkhad Properties and Facilities Management Nig. Ltd. worth N1,149,800,000.
The contract was intended for the acquisition of various vehicle models, such as Toyota Lexus VIP Bullet Proof 2021 Model, Toyota Land Cruiser VIP Bullet Proof 2021 Model, Toyota Prado V6 2021 Model, Toyota Prado V4 2021 Model, Peugeot 2021 Model, Toyota Hilux 2021 Model, Toyota Land Cruiser Bullet Proof 2021, and Toyota Lexus 2021 Model.
Lawal’s administration officially communicated with former Governor Matawalle and his deputy, urging them to return all the missing vehicles within five working days.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had initiated an investigation into Matawalle for alleged misappropriation of N70 billion. In response, Matawalle accused EFCC’s chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of demanding a $2 million bribe from him.