Nigeria’s 36 state governors have denied asking for a federal bailout to help bankrupt states clear salary backlog.
The governors, who met on Wednesday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum, said the money recently shared to states was from the dividends paid by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG.
The assertion was made by NGF chairman and governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, who addressed the media at the end of the meeting.
Mr. Yari said it was necessary to inform the media that the federal government did not give any bailout to any of the states.
“What had been shared last time was monies from NLNG and FAAC. And as we have been saying, we have not been looking for bailout, instead, we have been looking for all monies that are in the coffers of the federation most especially we are talking about some of the monies that are hung around the coffers of government to be brought together for the purpose of sharing,” he said.
The recent position by the governors contradicts a previous one they held.
Shortly after President Muhammad Buhari was elected as president and before he was sworn in, governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress visited him at the Defence House where they held a long meeting.
The chairman of the forum and governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, who addressed the media, said the governors asked for a bailout from Mr. Buhari because most states were in dire financial situation.
The APC governors again asked for bailout after their meeting at Mr. Okorocha’s lodge in Abuja saying without bailout states may not be able to pay backlog of salaries and other important issues seeking their attention.
Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party had also held a separate meeting and adopted the same position after which an enlarged meeting of the NGF held on June 21 took a position to meet with the president on the issue.
The governors met with Mr. Buhari and it was announced that a decision was reached to share bailout funds to the states.
Mr. Yari, however, maintained Wednesday, “We are not taking any bailout from the federal government and the federal government did not give us any bailout yet.
“But we are talking on how best the intervention will happen within these days so we will be able to settle the issue of salaries and other operations in government in the country.”
He also said the governors have resolved to help Mr. Buhari to address the worsening economic situation in the country and to also create a clear policy direction for the country and stimulate domestic production.
They therefore, resolved “to discuss with Mr. President to seek lasting solutions to the worsening macroeconomic challenges confronting the nation, especially on foreign exchange stability.
“To work with Mr. President to ensure coherent policy actions that will create a clear policy direction for the country and stimulate domestic production.
Other highlights of the meeting, according to Mr. Yari included a resolve “to collaborate with the federal government to ensure that the National Health Act Is operational and the one percent funding for primary health care is provided for in the budget.”
“Sequel to presentation made by the country representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the forum agreed to aggressively support the total eradication of polio in the country,” he said.
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