Posted by Written by Sowore Omoyele on
Governor Bafarawa, was recently in the United States attending a United Nations Conference on Youth. He spoke exclusively with Elendureports.com.
Governor Bafarawa, was recently in the United States attending a United Nations Conference on Youth. He 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."
This is the full text of the interview with the Executive Governor of Sokoto State.
Governor Bafarawa: You guys just wrote a story about me like that. You didnít even try to find out who Bafarawa is. What I have been doing in my state and how I earn my money?
Sowore: Yes, Governor Bafarawa, it is true that we did a report on you. We report what we see and get. And we are very sure of the accuracy of our reports. Did you disagree with the report? I mean donít you have a house in London at the address we reported in the story?
Governor Bafarawa: I am not denying it; you are right about that, in fact I like the way you guys write your stories. At least by this, all the governors will know that all eyes are on them and that is good. I support that. In fact you should ask the current minister of finance, I was the one who recommended that she should be publishing what is paid to the state and local governments in the dailies. So that the governments at those levels can stop complaining that they are not getting enough money from the Federal Government.
Sowore: So, Sir, when did you purchase the house in question in London, now that youíve agreed that it belongs to you?
Governor Bafarawa: I bought the house since 1999 from a former businessman from Sokoto who had lived there in that house for a long time. I use to stay there each time I go to London.
Sowore: But the Deed on that property right here with me shows that you actually purchased that house in June 2004.
Governor Bafarawa: Yes, it was on a kind of a lease before then. That was the time I finished paying for the house. I think around June 2004, yes you are right about that!
Sowore: What was the price you paid?
Governor Bafarawa: I canít remember, but I donít know about that £295,000 you guys quoted
Sowore: Sir, where did you get the money to buy such property in London?
Governor Bafarawa: I am a businessman before I became governor. I owned a house in Abuja that the Federal Government bought from me in 1999. They were looking for a house to put the former President of Niger republic, who is now late, so the FG bought the house from me and gave it to him.
Sowore: You mean the current government bought a house from you in 1999?
Governor Bafarawa: Yes, I was not the only one they bought house from, they bought houses from a lot of people in 1999 and thereafter.
Sowore: How much were you paid for the house and where is the house located?
Governor Bafarawa: The house is on Aso Drive. I canít tell you how much I was paid. It was a private affair!
Sowore: Governor, why not. If you believe so much in transparency, you should be able to disclose the cost of doing business with the Federal Government, which is a public entity.
Governor Bafarawa: I know, but I wonít be telling you. (We found out that he sold the house for N100 million). You should just dig down further and know who Bafarawa is before you write anything about me.
Sowore: Sir, did you declare the London house in question to the Code of Conduct Bureau either in 1999 or 2003?
Governor Bafarawa: You see, I donít really think it matters as long as you know in your heart that you did not buy the house by corruptly enriching yourself.
Sowore: I thought, the law (Code of Conduct) says that you must declare your assets before being elected into office and after?
Governor Bafarawa: Well, I am not going to disclose whether I declared the assets in London or not
Sowore: You were supposed to be the "Grand Marshall" at the Nigeria Independence Day parade, but you didnít show up. Tell us what happened?
Governor Bafarawa: Nothing happened. I already came last year and I didnít see why I should attend this yearís parade two years in a row.
Sowore: It was alleged that you funded or sponsored the parade
Governor Bafarawa: No, I did not fund the parade. Why will I fund a parade that I was not going to participate in?
Cuts inÖ It was announced that you would be the "Grand Marshall" and even at the parade it was Sokoto State caravan that was the only state caravan in line and it was in front.
Governor Bafarawa: I think they just did that to honor me!
Sowore: Yesterday, we received a rejoinder from one of your assistants lambasting us regarding our story.
Governor Bafarawa: Trust me, I never asked anyone to write a rejoinder, I didnít see the story until some hours ago. I donít even know who might have written that rejoinder. See, I really have no problems with you guys. I think you guys are doing great job writing about corruption in NigeriaÖ. And regarding Umarun KwaboÖ
Sowore: Yes, we heard he is your front man.
Governor Bafarawa: No, he is not my front man. I am not a corrupt person. But let me admit that he is my very good friend. And when the EFCC picked him up, I wrote them a letter asking them to retrieve all the money from him, if he was found to be stealing money from Sokoto State. I will send you a copy of the letter I wrote to EFCC.
Sowore: Talking about corruption, what is your opinion about the arrest of the governor of Bayelsa State in London?
Governor Bafarawa: I think it is a good thing. It will make all the governors sit up!
Sowore: What are you doing in New York City and since when did you arrive to New York City?
Governor Bafarawa: I arrived here since Monday. I came to New York for a UN Youth Conference and I will be leaving tonight (Thursday) at 9:00 pm. I have only been at the UN headquarters and my hotel. I was well treated by the UN youths.
Sowore: Thanks for your time!
Governor Bafarawa: You are welcome, I want you to try and find out more about Bafarawa and what I represent. You see, since I became governor, I have lived in my private residence. Thank you!