The current economic downturn in the country
may be worse than what most Nigerians think,
as the governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar
Bello, Wednesday, said it had become impossible
for him to pay salaries.
The governor stated this when he spoke with
State House correspondents shortly after
meeting President Muhammadu Buhari behind
closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“We have laid the cards on the table; we are not
hiding anything. We are very transparent as
much as we can but the truth of the matter is
that I cannot give what we don’t have. I wish I
had; personally if I had, I would have paid
(salaries) from my pocket but I can’t.”
According to the governor, his government had
been borrowing from banks since January to
augment whatever came to the state in form of
federal allocation, adding that as of May ending,
his government was in debt to the tune of N3bn
The governor, who said by December, his state’s
debt profile will have risen to N10bn, said the
state government decided to sit with labour
leaders and discuss the issue because it could
not offer what it did not have.
“I think we should go back to the table. Of
course, we can’t give what we don’t have. We
are facing difficult times now, so let us sit down
and see what we can do.
“I really think it is unhealthy to keep on
borrowing just to pay salaries. Apart from that,
we are not just there to pay salaries, there are a
lot of issues.
“I got a call this morning from one Girls’
Secondary School that their roof is off in six out
of seven dormitories. Where will they sleep? Now
if I take the whole revenue and pay salaries, how
am I going to fix schools, hospitals?”, he asked.