From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Some youths drawn from the All Progressives Congress APC in Zamfara State have dismissed as laughable calls for the probe and prosecution of the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, over alleged N70 billion contract racketeering.

Chairman, Zamfara APC Concerned Forum, Abubakar Ibrahim Gusau, in a statement, claimed that the protesters that stormed the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), are not indigenes of the state.

According to him, the protesters were sponsored by perceived enemies of the former governor, to embarrass him.

Gusau, also, explained that most of the contracts Matawalle awarded in the 14 Local Government Areas had been completed, and some are ongoing.

“There is no documentary evidence where the former governor was indicted for misappropriation, misapplication, and embezzlement of public funds for personal enrichment.

“Furthermore, there is no Judiciary Commission of Inquiry or anti-graft agency in Zamfara State where Dr Bello Matawalle was indicted for alleged corruption.

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“More importantly, there is a subsisting court judgement that restrained the EFCC from investigating, arresting, and prosecuting Matawalle. The judgement has not been set aside by a higher court,” he said.

Equally, he “challenges the sponsors of the protest to provide the public with any documentary evidence where the former governor collected funds from any contractor as kickback when he was in office or show any back account where such funds were siphoned by Matawalle.

“As governor, Matawalle has the responsibility to award contracts based on specifications.

“All the terms and conditions were spelt out in the contract agreements, including constructions and supplies.

“If a contractor failed to execute his job as stipulated in the contract agreement or divert funds, the EFCC and relevant anti-graft agencies should hold him responsible, not Matawalle.

“This campaign of calumny orchestrated by Zamfara State Governor Dauda Lawal of PDP in collusion with some desperate APC members in the state to destabilise our great party in Zamfara State and distract Dr Bello Matawalle from discharging his duties as Minister of the Federal Republic has failed woefully as APC remains united and strong in the state despite political persecution by the ruling PDP.”