President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed dissatisfaction with the management of the Paris Club Refund by some state governors.
On May 4, the federal government released N243. 795 billion, being the total sum of the second tranche of the refund to states.
The refund is in respect of over-deductions on Paris Club, London Club Loans and Multilateral debts between 1995-2002.
He expressed his angst yesterday at a meeting with the National Council of Traditional Rulers, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III at the Presidential Villa.
President Buhari lamented the inability of the affected state governments to pay the retirement benefits and outstanding salaries of workers with the payment of the refund.
He said: “We have to digress this much because I would like to convince you that I’m living with the problems of this country day-by-day, and mostly those of the ordinary people.
“There are Nigerians that haven’t been paid for six months; there are Nigerians that have not been paid their retirement benefits for years.
“I’m appealing to the governors, (that was why we voted money, we borrowed money), please make sure anybody under you, pay them because most of them depend on that salary to pay rent, school fees,’’ he said.
He assured of his administration’s resolve continue doing its best in executing developmental projects to uplift the standard of living of all Nigerians irrespective of their geo-political backgrounds.
On the economy and related challenges, the President told his guests that but for improved rainy season resulting in good harvest, he would have gone on exile.
He said if this year’s harvest was not good, he was considering which country to run to.
“We know our limitations, we have to continue to strengthen our constitution, to strengthen the resolve of our people to live together, work together.
“We are lucky this year than last year, and this year, the rainy season is good. If it were not good, I must confide in you that I was considering which country to run to.
“But God answered the prayers of many Nigerians, the rainy season last year was good, and this year, with the report I’m getting is good. We thank God for that. Otherwise, there would have been a lot of problems in this country.”
He said mismanagement of national resources over the years was responsible for the current economic woes bedevilling the country.
The President said he would continue to pursue programmes and projects that would better the lives of Nigerians in all spheres.
He said there was the need for the country to use its population strength as the biggest black nation in the world to its advantage.
On the security situation in the country, the President said all hands were on deck to completely secure the country so as to develop it further.
In his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto thanked God for bringing the President back in sound health, and urged him to tighten his belt and take on the mantle of leadership.
Ooni speaks for South West
Speaking for the South West, the Oni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunnusi, also thanked God for the safe return of the President and for restoring his health.
“From south west, we thank God for your life and we pledge to support you from our communities because we are closer to our people. We will continue to preach to our people that we should continue to foster peace in our country, we will continue to caution our youths
against hate speeches.
“We cannot leave the development of the country all to the government but we have to work hand in hand. We assure you that we support all your initiatives,” he said.
Speaking for the North West, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said the traditional rulers identified with the President’s commitment to national security.
South-South’s Jaja of Opobo
Speaking for the South South, the Jaja of Opobo, said people of the region were committed to the success of the programmes of the present administration.
“We know there is tension here and there, but as traditional rulers, we don’t eat politics. The economy has to be fixed. Coming from the region that produces the mainstay of the economy, even though the country will soon diversify the economy, before we diversify, let’s
protect the one that we still have. We are pleased to work for peace and stability of the region so that we can all see the benefits of the commodity,” he said.
Gyang from North Central
On his part, leader of the North Central monarchs and Gbom Gwom Jos, Jacob Buba Gyang, also thanked God for bringing the president back home safely.
“The issues of health and security are not issues to play politics but issues we should put heads together so that the country can progress.
“We commend your efforts on security and agriculture. Few days ago, just when we thought peace had returned to the Plateau, it was truncated with the attack on Ancha village in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State, leading to 20 deaths,” he said.
He commended the President for ordering security agencies to fish out those responsible for the attacks and the reasons for the attack.
South East speaks
Also speaking, Chairman, South East Traditional Council, Eberechi Dike, said: “Our hearts is full of joy that you are back. You shook our hands when you came in and that shows you believe in one Nigeria. We prayed for you and you are back. We prayed for you because your agenda for Nigeria is good.
“As your children when we cry, it is for you to ask us to stop crying that you will fix whatever is making us cry like the bad roads.”
Speaking on behalf of the North East, the Lamido Adamawa, Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu
Mustapha, said Nigerians were happy to have the President back to the country hale and hearty.
“God brought you back to Nigeria and we are all very happy. We will continue to pray for God to strengthen you more and give you the courage to continue to do more for the country,” he said.