Governors Meet Buhari Friday over Insecurity, Huge Debts

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Muhammadu Buhari

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The governors of the 36 states of the federation will Friday in Abuja meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to consider steps to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country.

Criminals have dominated the nation’s landscape in recent times, engaging in banditry, kidnappings and farm rustling even as herdsmen have run riot across the country, maiming and killing farmers.

The new wave of crime has aggravated the nation’s security already convulsed by Boko Haram insurgency.

Today’s meeting, with the president presiding, will also discuss debts inherited by the governors, which they claimed would make governance difficult in their respective states.

Data from the Debt Management Office put sub-national debts at N5.376 trillion, as at December 2018, with Lagos’ over N1 trillion debt stocks topping the list.

The meeting, a governor told THISDAY Thursday, followed a resolution of the governors during their first meeting after the election of Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

According to the governor, “This meeting is our first meeting with the President and Commander-in-Chief since our inauguration on May 29. It is basically on the worrisome state of insecurity in the country. He is the Commander-in-Chief. We are expected to present our findings on the state of insecurity in our respective states. The state of kidnapping and all sorts of violence is becoming worrisome.

“Also, most of us met several degrees of empty treasury when we assumed office on May 29. We met huge debts and backlog of unpaid salaries. Some of us may be asking for some sort of financial bailout from the federal government to enable the states to ensure good governance.”

However, the 15 governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were expected to hold a pre-general meeting to harmonise their positions ahead of the gathering with the president today.

A statement by the Coordinator, PDP Governors’ Forum, Chief Osaro Onaiwu, said the PDP governors would be hosted by Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, who doubles as the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, at the state Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.

Apart from adopting a common ground on their meeting with Buhari, the PDP governors would also discuss the party’s position on the forthcoming June 11 election of the principal officers of the Ninth National Assembly.

The PDP governors’ intervention might not be unconnected with the divided positions of the PDP National Assembly members-elect.

It was gathered that for divergent reasons, the party’s federal lawmakers-elect might not ensure a block vote for the party’s choice of presiding officers.

The PDP National Assembly caucus is expected to meet Friday night to harmonise their positions for the voting on Tuesday.