Buhari Did Not Indict Governors over Use of Paris Club Refunds, Says NGF


Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said President Muhammadu Buhari did not threaten to expose state governors for allegedly misusing monies that accrued from the Paris Club refund.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) wednesday, had while reacting to a statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari to the nation’s traditional rulers, quoted him as having threatened to name and shame governors who did not apply “voted funds and borrowed funds” judiciously.

In a statement issued wednesday by its Head of Publicity, Abulrazque Abulrazque, NGF said: “So far, no investigation known to any governor on the Paris Club refunds regarding non-payment of salaries, talk less of any indictment.

“For the avoidance of doubt, there is, nowhere in President Buhari’s statement where he mentioned Paris Club and it is unfair for anyone to attempt to bring the state governors and the presidency on collision course.

“Moreover, there is, so far, no investigation known to any governor on the Paris Club refunds regarding non-payment of salaries, talk less of any indictment. Furthermore, the Paris Club refund was not borrowed money but an over-deduction from states’ repayments of a loan which the federal government is repaying to states that were erroneously debited,” he said.

Abulrazque also said it was not only saddening but painful that the NLC, a very respectable union, was being misinformed into casting aspersions on the person of the Chairman of the NGF, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar.

According to him, the governor has respectfully fulfilled all promises he made to the Zamfara State workers.
“For example, the reference to the strike action currently going on in Zamfara State by the workforce is not only misplaced but uncalled for because it has nothing to do with non-payment or non-judicious disbursement of the Paris Club refunds. It is important to state, without fear of contradiction, that the Zamfara State government is up-to-date on the payment of workers’ salaries.

“What the state workers are protesting, without prejudice to the Paris Club refunds, is the increment in wages to primary school teachers, local government workers and the increment of pensioners emoluments. Both demands, according to the Zamfara State Government are unrealistic in the current state of affairs.

“This, as has been reiterated, for the umpteenth time by the Zamfara State Government, that it is not in a position to meet those demands because of the dire state of not just Zamfara State but the nation’s economy in general.”
In the statement, NGF said governors are doing their best to mitigate poverty in the country but that some elements in society are working hard to obliterate this fact for selfish reasons.

“ That is why the NLC, is being misled into a tirade on things that President Muhammadu Buhari never said
“However, it is important to repeat here that the current euphoria over the efforts of the nation to free itself from recession would not have been achieved without the full cooperation of the states, where fiscal discipline and other reforms are being entrenched and institutionalised.

“Indeed, the relationship between the president and governors could not have been better than it is at the moment.
“The NGF therefore advises those who report the president’s activities to always report only what the president says and not put words in the president’s mouth as this could sometimes be counterproductive,” it said.