Abuja – The 36 governors have resolved to offset workers’ outstanding salaries and pensions in their states as soon as the next tranche of payment from the Paris-London Club loan refunds were made.
Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
The statement by Mr Abulrazque Barkindo, Head of Media and Public Affairs, NGF Secretariat, said that the decision was reached by the governors after their meeting in Abuja on Thursday night.
The governors met in anticipation of the release of the money, which had been approved for payment the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Out of the N522.74 billion owed, N388.304 was paid to states in December, 2016.
Yari said that the governors were not oblivious of the hue and cry over non-payment of backlog of salaries and pensions, and the precarious predicament of the Nigerian workers.
He said that the governors deliberated on the matter and concluded that something immediate must be done to ameliorate workers’ plight by offsetting the outstanding pay and emoluments.
This, according to him, made the governors to resolve as a matter of urgency, to pay workers their due as soon as the half of the Paris Club refunds is made.
“We all agreed that a substantial amount from the next tranche of the Paris-London refunds be used in the settlement of workers salary and pension arrears,” Yari disclosed.
He added that the governors were also committed to the verification of the input of all the consultants, who claimed to have worked towards the harmonization of the refunds.
The claim, the governor said, was in regards of what was due to each state since 2005 when the demand for the refunds commenced.
“At the moment, there are litigations from more than 10 different consultants still agitating for settlement for their roles in the quest to have the refunds made to states. ‘’
He said a committee headed by Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had been set up to provide solution to the demands by consultants on the refunds to states.
Members of the committee are governors of Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau, Bayelsa, Rivers and Gombe.
He disclosed that another committee made up of the governors of Imo, Bayelsa, Abia, Ekiti, Kano, Nasarawa and Bauchi was also constituted to work for the “reconciliation’’ of the forum members.
This, according to Yari, is to enable the governors to work harmoniously in a manner that will transcend all political affiliations so that all governors will speak with one voice on issues of national importance.
“There is no how you will mention any political development in Nigeria without mentioning governors. Governors are a bloc and a key component of this democracy.
“Therefore, we have set up a seven-member committee to look into the development surrounding the unity of the forum and the development of the country.
“The idea is for governors to be speaking with one voice,” he said.