The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has denied reports that President Muhammadu Buhari rebuked governors over the management of Paris Club refunds released to the states.
In a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by its Head of Media and Publicity, Mr Abdulrazaque Barkindo, the forum said while governors were doing their best to mitigate poverty, some elements were working hard to obliterate this effort.
It said that it was necessary to state the governors’ position because the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had “crashed into the false information and reacted to an erroneous publication’’.
According to it, the reports misunderstood the content of President Buhari’s statement to the nation’s traditional rulers when he met with them on Monday.
It stated that the NLC was being misled into a tirade on things that Buhari never said, adding that some persons were taking on the governors for selfish reasons.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is nowhere in the president’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.’’
The forum said that it was not just saddening but painful that the NLC was being misinformed.
It stated that the congress was misinformed into casting aspersions on the Chairman of NGF, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abubakar, who had “respectfully fulfilled all promises he made to Zamfara workers’’.
The NGF noted that the reference to the strike action currently going on in Zamfara by the workforce was not only misplaced but uncalled for.
It said that the strike had 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, are the increment in wages to primary school teachers, local government workers and the increment of pensioners’ emoluments,’’ it said.
It said that Zamfara Government had repeatedly emphasised that it was not in a position to meet those demands because of the dire state of not just the state but the nation’s economy in general.
It also stated that the NGF contributed immensely to the current “euphoria’’ over the efforts of the nation to free itself from recession.
According to it, this 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 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 counter-productive.”