Journalism in the service of society

Fraud allegations: Go to court with proof, Matawalle tells accusers

GOVERNOR Bello Matawalle has described allegations that he fled the country ahead of the expiration of his tenure in office as unfounded, saying he has no reason to flee his country.

Matawalle, who spoke to journalists in Abuja yesterday, gave the rebuttal on the backdrop of allegations that he was afraid of being arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) upon losing immunity on Monday.

Governor-elect Dauda Lawal is scheduled to be inaugurated on Monday, replacing Matawalle who lost his re-election bid in the March 18 governorship poll as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Noting that he had travelled out of the country for a medical check-up, the outgoing governor challenged anyone with facts on the allegation of misappropriated funds against him to approach the courts, instead of engaging in a media trial.

“If anyone has anything against me, he should bring it, let us see it. For what? They should bring it. And you cannot just go on a media trial of someone. Bring your records, go to court, let the court say, ‘This person was found guilty of so-and-so problem,’” he said.

“But for now, it is only the courts of competent jurisdiction that can say ‘you are ever convicted’ or ‘you are found guilty on any of the crimes’, but nobody, as a human. And I assure you that Asiwaju [Bola Tinubu], as a person, will respect the rule of law. He will adhere to the rule of law.”

Matawalle argued that as a Nigerian, he is proud of his country.

“I am back to my country, and what’s wrong with that? It’s just people — you know, everybody has his own opinion,” he said,

“Many people can say so many things, particularly in this era of social media, someone will just wake up and write lies or make useless comments on someone. And as I said, it’s someone’s opinion.”

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Naija Times