Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari, on Tuesday met behind closed-doors to discuss the modalities of the bailouts recently approved for states by the Federal Government.
Their discussion, according to Yari, centered on the Central Bank-packaged special intervention fund approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The measures recently approved by Buhari to deal with the problem of unpaid public sector salaries in many states included the sharing of the $2.1billion dividend paid to the Federation Account by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company and a CBN-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, ranging from N250 billion to N300billion.
The CBN intervention is meant to be a soft loan to be made available to states for the purposes of paying backlog of salaries.
Yari, who is the governor of Zamfara State, told State House correspondents after the meeting that he decided to meet Osinbajo in order to find out from him how far the government had gone on the CBN planned intervention.
He said he had received the brief from the Vice President and would be waiting for the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is currently on the entourage of the President to the United States, to return and take action.
The governor said, “We discussed the issue of the special intervention funds. In our last meeting with the President, we agreed in the National Economic Council that there will be a special intervention from the Federal for the states that cannot foot their salary arrears to their workers.
“So, I followed up with the Chairman of the NEC (the Vice President) to know how far they have gone with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“This issue of unpaid salaries is not only for the states, even the Federal Government is suffering the same thing.
“Therefore, we follow up to know how far they have gone with the CBN Governor and now we have gotten the brief but the CBN governor is out in Washington and immediately he comes back, we are going to take up the matter to see the end of issue of unpaid salaries to the workers.”
On terrorism, Yari said a lot of grounds have been covered in the war against the Boko Haram sect.
He said members of the sect could no longer be found in any forest on local government in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, unlike what was applicable before now.
He added, “The issue of insurgency is a problem of all. Now, the Boko Haram members cannot be found in any forest, or in any local government among the occupied local governments in Borno, Yobe or Adamawa states. You cannot find them.
“So, what we are now suffering is a kind of guerrilla war, checking the bombs, dislodging the suicide bombings and what have you.
“But to see a group of 100 or 200 as Boko Haram members to confront with our military, they cannot be found. So the government and the security agencies are doing their best to ensure that peace is restored, not that these things started under one year, two years.
“We are working and now it is the responsibility of our government to ensure security of lives and property of the people and the issue of Boko Haram is number one that Mr. President is discussing with the President of the United States and the supports he is going to give Nigeria to ensure that the issue of insurgency comes to an end.
“Government is going to put machinery in place, most especially the military and security, to ensure that the insurgency comes to and end.”
Yari also talked about the incidents of lead poison in his states and the steps being taking to address the problem.
He said his government was working with some international groups to educate the youths on how best to go about mining without causing harm to themselves.