Controversy in Zamfara as lawmakers accuse gov of ordering their arrest

Controversy in Zamfara as lawmakers accuse gov of ordering their arrest
July 20 15:19 2016

By Bologi Muhammed, with agency reports

The reported attempt by Zamfara State House of Assembly members to impeach Governor Abdulaziz Yari over alleged misappropriation of funds has taken  a new controversial turn.

Reports monitored on the Hausa Service of Voice of America on Wednesday said the  Speaker of the
House, Sanusi Rikiji,
his deputy, Muhammad Gumi,
Majority Leader, Isah
 Abdulmumini, and Chief Whip
, Abdullahi Dansadau  have been arrested by
 the Department of State  Services on the
’orders’ of the governor.

According to the VOA, the lawmakers were at the time of filing this story, locked up in a DSS facility in Abuja after the governor
accused them of plotting to
impeach him.

According to one of the lawmakers, Umaru
Faru, who spoke to the VOA, trouble began for them
after the assembly called for a
special sitting with Governor Yari
to discuss what it called “the
difficult economic situation the state found
itself”

However, the lawmakers said the
governor mistook their aim to be an impeachment plot and instigated their arrest.

“People accuse the
governor of abandoning the state,
and they are also complaining
about the handling of the state
resources especially the bailout
funds released specifically to pay
workers’ salaries”.

“The money came but no one
knows what happened to it, as we
speak local government staff,
pensioners have not been paid, in
fact, our traditional rulers have
not been paid their 5%
constitutional allocation for
several months, civil servants pay
was cut and some of them were
even sacked because of dwindling
revenue, however, they were not
paid their entitlement even after the bailout
came.

“That is why we invited them, definitely not
for impeachment purposes,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports also claim that   lawmakers who escaped arrest
have fled the state and were taking refuge in
Kaduna.

The Chairman, House Committee on Information,
Mannir Gidan Jaji had also issued a statement on Tuesday night, accusing the governor  of abuse of office and calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene.

He also accused the governor of
“corrupt usage of local government funds for
state purposes”.

According to the statement, the governor had also been able to
explain how the N1 billion commercial
agriculture loan given to the state by the
Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was utilized.

They equally accused him of “non-remittance
of pension funds to pension administrators,
non-remittance of 5 percent emirate councils
funds, the gross misappropriation of bailout
funds to the state by the federal government
to settle workers’ salaries, including N10b for
2014 and N1.46b in 2016”.

The lawmakers said Zamfara was almost
crippled owing to the governor’s frequent trip
abroad, and that instead of addressing the
issues they raised, the governor “resorted to
political intimidation, arrest and detention of
principal officers of the House and other
supporting staff”.

The state Commissioner for Information, Umaru Bukkuyum, has however denied the allegations, saying the lawmakers were merely invited to Abuja to facilitate a dialogue that would bring an end to the crises.