Unpaid Salaries: Governors blast President’s aide, deny report of Buhari being angry with them

… Governors: Paris Club refund is right of states

State Governors are not begging the Federal Government for money, but asking to be paid the Paris Club refund, which is their entitlement, a governor said yesterday.

Bauchi State Governor Mohammed Abubakar said the President’s statement to the governors at a meeting on Tuesday was part of his usual concern for the plight of workers. He did not see it as an indictment of the states’ helmsmen.

The governor said: “Don’t forget, this is money that belongs to us. We are not begging for anything, but demanding what belongs to us and that it should be paid to us.”

Abubakar, who addressed reporters after a meeting of some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors with the National Working Committee (NWC), said governors judiciously utilised the Federal Government’s intervention in the payment of salaries and pensions.

He added: “I was at the meeting with the President. Mr President, in his usual fashion, expressed his concern on the plight of workers and the downtrodden. He did not direct any accusation at the governors because the governors have actually utilised most of the intervention fund from the Federal Government for payment of salaries.

“Take Bauchi State, for example, my salary bill is N5.1 billion (states and local government). If you count the number of months that I came to FAAC and collect anything above N5 billion, it will not be more than five months in my two and half years in office.

“But because of the intervention today, I am proud to say that I am not owing a single kobo salary or pension. We have in the main, utilised this intervention towards payment.”

President Muhammadu Buhari told some governors on Tuesday that he was concerned about the agitation for salaries. “How can anyone go to bed and sleep soundly when workers have not been paid salaries for months,” Buhari said.

The governors at the governors NWC meeting include: Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar (Bauchi), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Abdullahi Jibrilla Bindo (Adamawa).

Deputy Governors of Ondo, Kano, Kogi and Nasarawa states stood in for their governors.

National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun said previous editions of the meeting had been extremely useful not only in stabilising the party, but also contributing immensely towards handling various challenges.

He said: “I welcome you to the sixth of the series of our consultative meetings, which have proved to be extremely useful not only in stabilizing the party but also contributing immensely towards handling various challenges that have appeared before us as a nation and as a people.

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