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President Muhammadu Buhari has described the inability of 27 of the 36 state governments of the federation to pay the salaries of their workers as “a disgrace to Nigeria”.

Buhari, while addressing staff of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, expressed concern that in spite of the initial bailout funds made available to some states, their workers had yet to receive their salaries.

“The matter that may shock you is that 27 out of the 36 states couldn’t pay salaries.
“This is a disgrace to Nigeria; is a disgrace. Up till now, some of the states cannot pay salaries.

“What happened to all we have been getting all this time? We looked left, right, centre, up and down and said; any saving? There was nothing, because we developed a consumption that we were not supposed to develop.’’

The president, therefore, advised the states to diversify their sources of revenue generation to boost their financial positions.
He pledged that his administration’s ongoing war against corruption would be vigorously sustained, to rid the country of the debilitating effects of “wanton looting” of public funds in past years.

“I have never in my life, from class monitor to here for the second time in different forms, believed in corruption.
“If we make any mistake in what we are doing and compromise our integrity, the country will be further dragged back.

“We will not touch anybody who did not touch public funds. If you behave yourself, you may not have houses in Abuja or in Europe or in America, but you will sleep soundly; your children and families will enjoy respect.’’

The president reiterated the determination of his administration to stop all forms of fraud in the country.
He said that already, security agencies had been alerted to apprehend those engaging in currency racketeering across the country.

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“For those who have plenty of naira and use bankers and others to stamp papers and buy the dollars and take them outside, we will have to do something else because we are alerting all security agencies.

“All fraud must be stopped. If they want to believe us is to see those we have caught red-handed, taking public funds.

“This exercise will continue as long as this leadership is here. Whoever takes anything that does not belong to him and is not entitled to and he is caught, he will be documented and taken before the court.’’

He assured that he would continue to lead the country with patriotic zeal, integrity, dedication and commitment to improving the living conditions of ordinary Nigerians.
Buhari thanked the State House staff for their service to the nation and urged them to remain patriotic and eschew corruption in the discharge of their duties.
“I’m asking you to re-dedicate yourselves to your country. As I said 30 years ago, we have no other country than Nigeria. We are determined to rehabilitate the country for coming generations.

“The process of change is not easy but with your dedication, we can deal successfully with the issues that currently confront us,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary,
State House, Malam Jalal Arabi, thanked the president for his concern and support to staff of the presidency.

He said that the State House staff would continue to be loyal to the president and support his administration to achieve its goal of transforming the country.


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