President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, met with the members of the National Council of Traditional Rulers, decrying the way the Paris Club loan refund was spent by some state governors.
The Federal Government had, on May 4, released details of the second tranche of the Paris Club loan refund to states totalling N243.795bn.
The refund was in respect of the over deductions on Paris Club, London Club Loans and Multilateral debts between 1995 and 2002.
The President, who met with the traditional rulers at the new Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, frowned on the inability of the affected states to pay the retirement benefits and outstanding salaries of workers with the refund.
Buhari stated, “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 pledged that his administration would continue to do its best in executing developmental projects to uplift the standard of living of all Nigerians irrespective of their geopolitical backgrounds.
The President noted with delight that the country would be witnessing bumper harvest across the country, this year.
He said the bumper harvest was as a result of the prayers of Nigerians which were graciously answered by God.
Buhari added, “We are lucky, last year and this year, the rainy season was good. If it were not good, I’m confiding in you, which country shall I run to? But God answered the prayers of most Nigerians.”
He thanked the traditional rulers for their continued prayers and support to the government and urged them not to relent in their efforts toward ensuring peace and stability in their respective domains.
He enjoined them to continue to educate their people on the need to ensure the continued survival of Nigeria as a geo-political entity.
Earlier in his remarks, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, had said the traditional rulers were in the Presidential Villa to wish the President and the country well and to express their unflinching support for the administration.
He, however, challenged the President to tighten up his belt in the discharge of his responsibilities for the betterment of the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that six traditional rulers, one from each geo-political zone of the country, spoke on the occasion where they expressed the support of their zones for the Buhari administration as well as the continued existence of Nigeria as one country.
Some of the prominent monarchs at the forum included the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; the Gbom Gwom Jos, Jacob Gyang; the Chairman of South-East Traditional Council, Eberechi Dike; the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II; and the Lamido Adamawa, Muhammadu Musdafa.