Zamfara state governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle, on Wednesday accused his predecessor, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, of paying himself N360 million from the state pension funds shortly before he left office.
He disclosed this while assenting to a law stopping jumbo allowances for former governors, deputies, speakers and their deputies in the state.
The bill was brought to the governor by Speaker of the state House Assembly Alhaji Nasiru Muazu Magarya and other principal officers of the House.
While assenting to the bill, Matawalle said former governor Yari had paid himself N360 million from the state pension funds shortly before he left office, noting that from the amount he only paid some selected permanent secretaries.
“If you could remember former governor Yari had sent a letter to me demanding that his N10 million monthly upkeep allowances be paid and he was even threatening to take me to court should I fail to pay the money.
“I called my deputy, the state assembly speaker and his deputy and asked them whether they need such mind boggling allowances and they all answered in negative. Then, we decided to repeal the law backing the payment and I have assented to it.
“Our successors will not find it easy to come up with such obnoxious law to pillage the little resources of the state in the future. There is no reason whatsoever the state could afford to pay the past leaders a whopping sum of N702 million annually to the detriment of dying pensioners in the state,” Matawalle said.
Governor Matawalle further said he couldn’t comprehend why a large portion of the states meager resources would be dedicated to a select few while most of the state’s retired civil servants have not received a dime for almost seven out of the eight years of the past administration.
“It is on the record that the backlog of pension and gratuity for local government workers and primary school teachers left behind by Abdulaziz Yari’s administration stands at N3billion while that of the state government retired civil servants also stands at N3billion.
“What moral justification could be offered for such a Jumbo package for a select few when the social index has consistently indicated that the majority of our population lives in abject poverty?” he queried.
He said any one that attains the position of governorship, and other top political position in the state were financially well off even before attaining the position and no political office holder would be allowed to pilfer the citizens of the state to death.
Matawalle then thanked the leadership of the state assembly for repealing the law describing their actions as patriotic and commendable.