Bail-out for states doubtful as Buhari laments empty treasury
• Says non-payment of salaries a disgrace
• Orders soldiers out of checkpoints
• Police to take over internal security
A BAD-case scenario of the new government inheriting an empty treasury bandied about by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), was yesterday confirmed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
With this development, the expected bailout for states by the Federal Government may have hit the rocks, at least, temporarily.
Meanwhile, the President has directed that all the military checkpoints on highways be dismantled.
Speaking during his maiden interaction with State House correspondents, the President lamented that the culture of celebrating 100 days in office has brought so much pressure on the government to show its achievements, even in the face of “virtually empty treasury with debts in millions of dollars, with state workers and even federal workers not paid their salaries.’’
He said such a scenario was “such a disgrace for Nigeria.”
The President, who said it was the duty of government at every level to ensure that workers’ salaries are paid, lamented that the bad management of the economy had put a strain on the ability of state governments and some Federal Government agencies to pay their workers.
He underscored a smooth working relationship between the government and the media as essential, noting that, such relationship would go a long way in ensuring that Nigerians enjoy a quality dividend of democracy.
Alluding to his not-so-easy relationship with the media in the past, the President said he had decided to engage the services of the best brains in the industry as his media aides to enhance a smooth working relationship, noting that democracy means that the government and the media should work in partnership for the development of the country.
His words: “It is not by accident that I got one of the best among you, Mr. Femi Adesina, one of the 15 aides I had to get clearance from the Senate. He is one of the best that I can have so that he can consistently defend me against you. Whether my job is a difficult one or an easy one is up to him, but I’m here to thank you in advance for what good and ill you are going to do to me.”
Also, during a meeting with journalists after the president’s meeting with heads of security agencies yesterday at the State House, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Aliyu Ismaila, disclosed that preparations for the final movement of the Command Control Centre to Maiduguri were underway.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, led the Service Chiefs, including Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, his Naval and Air counterparts, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin and Air Marshal Adesola Amosu among others to the meeting.
On the absence at the meeting of the Inspector-General of Police and Director-General of the Department of State Services, Ismaila said: