Posted by Written by Sowore Omoyele and Jonathan Elendu on
Within hours of publishing our last story entitled, "Sokoto Governor Has His Share of London," a gentleman, Akibu Dalhatu, wrote a rejoinder to us. In the rejoinder Dalhatu questioned the veracity of our reports.
Within hours of publishing our last story entitled, "Sokoto Governor Has His Share of London," a gentleman, Akibu Dalhatu, wrote a rejoinder to us. In the rejoinder Dalhatu questioned the veracity of our reports. Akibu Dalhatu is a former National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) leader and currently is a Special Assistant to the Sokoto State Governor. A few hours ago the Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, told Elendureports.com that he is, indeed, the owner of the house we mentioned in our report.
Governor Bafarawa, who is presently in the United States attending a United Nations Conference on Youth, spoke exclusively with Elendureports.com. He declared to our reporter, "The house you guys mentioned in your story belongs to me. I bought the house in 1999, about a month after I became the Governor of Sokoto State." When told that documents in our possession show the house was bought in 2004, the Governor said, "The House was leased from 1999 until 2004, when I completed payment for the house. I bought it from a Sokoto businessman who lived in that house for about thirty years."
Elendureports.com asked the Sokoto Governor how he was able to afford the house, Bafarawa said, "I was a wealthy business man before I became Governor. I sold my Aso Drive, Abuja house in 1999 to the Federal Government of Nigeria. They were looking for a house for the former President of Niger, who is now deceased. I used some of the money I realized from the sale of my Abuja house to pay for the London house while I saved the rest of the money." The Governor refused to tell Elendureports.com how much he realized from the sale of the house but a source very close to Gov. Bafarawa told our reporters that the Governor was paid about one hundred million (N100,000,000.00) naira for the house.
Our reporter asked the Governor if the said London home was declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau in 1999 or 2003, he declined to answer the question insisting that he could comfortably afford the house. "I donít really have to declare it. I can afford the house," Bafarawa said.
Touting his anti-corruption credentials, the Sokoto State Governor said, "I was the one who told the Minister of Finance to start publishing allocations to States and Local Governments. Before now, governors always complained that that they did not have money to run their states because the Federal Government was short changing them. Now the information is there for everybody to see."
What is the Governorís reaction to the plight of Gov. DSP Alamieyeseigha, Bafarawa said, "What Alamieyeseigha is going through now will make other governorís to sight up. And thanks to Elendureports.com, public officials in Nigeria now know that they are being watched by some reporters who are not afraid to say what they find."
Gov. Bafarawa had been advertised as one of the major attractions to the Independence Day celebrations in New York. Why did the Governor not show up for the parade? "I was there last year. I didnít think it was necessary for me to attend this yearís celebrations," Bafarawa told Elendureports.com. When told that Sokoto State was the only state that was allocated a caravan, the Governor, who denied funding the parade, said, "Maybe they gave us a caravan as an honor to me."
The Sokoto State Governor admitted that the embattled Chairman of the Sokoto Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Umarun Kwabo, is a very close friend and ally of his. Gov. Bafarawa told our reporter that he wrote a letter to Nuhu Ribadu, the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to recover all the money stolen from Sokoto State from Kwabo if, indeed, it is true that such a crime was committed by his friend. He promised to send the letter to Elendureports.com.
Throughout the impromptu interview, Gov. Bafarawa kept insisting that he wanted our reporter to know him. During the interview, the Governor came across as a very unassuming and humble person. Elendureports.com legal analyst said, "Whether the Governor bought the house in London one day, one month, or five years after becoming Governor of Sokoto State, he broke the law. It is against the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for a public official to acquire property or maintain bank accounts outside Nigeria." The Governor did not seem to realize that his acquisition of a property in London was illegal. Such pervasive naivetť on the part of our public officials makes the war on corruption a faÁade.
Coming soon: the complete interview with Gov. Bafarawa of Sokoto State.