Buhari in a group photograph with traditional rulers after meeting in Aso Rock
The Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, has decried the report that President Muhammadu Buhari rebuked governors on Paris Fund Refund during a meeting with traditional rulers in Aso Rock recently.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, its secretariat said the issues were being muddled and misunderstood.
Governors are doing their best to mitigate poverty in the country but some elements in society are working hard to obliterate this fact for selfish reasons, which is why the Nigeria Labor Congress, NLC, is being misled into a tirade on things that President Muhammadu Buhari never said.
It blamed the Nigeria Labor Congress for falling for the false report to issue a threat to name and shame governors who did not apply “voted funds and borrowed funds” judiciously.
The report said in part; “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, let alone 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.
“It is also not just saddening but painful that the NLC, a very respectable union, is being misinformed into casting aspersions on the person of the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar who, has respectfully fulfilled all promises he made to the Zamfara 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.
“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 institutionalized.
Indeed, the relationship between the president and governors could not have been better than it is at the moment.
“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum 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.