NIGERIA: Governors Demand Federal Government Bailout Over Unpaid Workers' Salaries

Governors of Nigeria's 36 states are set to meet on Wednesday to perfect plans to demand a financial bailout from the Federal government to pay salaries.

Dozens of states owe their workers for several months, and their governors blame the dismal revenue they receive from Abuja.

The monthly allocations dwindled since 2014 due to falling price of oil.

The governors, who are meeting under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, would be discussing as a unified group for the first time after its election of 2013 broke the NGF into two factions led by former governors Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and Jonah Jang of Plateau states respectively.

The NGF meeting is to take place at the Lagos/Osun Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja by 10 a.m.

The governors had earlier on Tuesday met on the platform of their parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Both meetings discussed the precarious financial situation across the states and resolved to present a common request for help to the Federal Government.

The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, had while addressing journalists at the end of their meeting on Tuesday, said they resolved to push for a bailout from the federal government to save states from collapse.

Mr. Okorocha said the new APC government in the country met a near empty treasury and therefore called for the overhaul of the country's economy.

One of the governors attending Wednesday's meeting told PREMIUM TIMES that the NGF would consider a proposal for President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene by providing money to the states.

"We would get update on the Federation Account Allocation Committee as well as the Excess Crude Account after which a proposal for bailout to states would be discussed. As it stands, we have no option than to approach Mr. President collectively on this matter," he said.

The governors will also discuss modalities on how to enhance their revenue across all the states, he said.

"We would discuss openly and collaboratively on how to enhance the revenue drive in the states, by sharing experiences and proposals, the belief is that we can collectively contribute to the best way out of the present quagmire," our source said.

The governors had also proposed the setting up of an "NGF Leadership Academy" to be run by the secretariat of the NGF.

To this end, Wednesday's meeting is also expected to receive briefs from the Director General of the NGF, Ashishana Okauru on the setting up of the academy and other matters from the secretariat.

The Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, who was elected the Chairman of the NGF at its last meeting would be fully assuming the office Wednesday.

Also, no Vice Chairman was elected for the new Chairman, as such, a deputy to Mr. Yari may also emerge at the end of today's meeting.
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