Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has praised President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the state’s balance ofN5 billion bailout funds for the payment of workers’ three-month outstanding salaries.
Lalong gave the commendation while fielding questions from State House correspondents recently, after a closed door meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the state government has commenced the payment of the outstanding salaries to the workers.
“I came to thank the President for approving the balance of bail out of N5 billion for Plateau.
“I kept on drumming it politicians were saying no we do not have any money outstanding.
“Mr. President approved the money on the eve of his departure to London.
“I got an approval for the balance of N5billion for plateau which has been drawn for the payment of their balance of arrears.
“What we have is balance of arrears on the plateau.
“I have paid and we have about three months and right now, yesterday (Thursday) and today (Friday) the workers are being paid the balance of their salaries.
“So, after salary for a Plateau man, he is no longer annoyed with anything. He would allow government to run unhindered.
“So, that was what they were trying to use during the grazing reserve because people were hungry because of lack of salaries.
“They first drummed the issue of salaries that we will not be able to pay the arrears but today, we have the (monies) balance and we are paying them the arrears of salaries.
“They jumped to issue of grazing reserves but by God’s grace, that will not be a problem to Plateau.”
On the reported protest by some youths over the issue of grazing reserve, the governor said that the state government had no plan to establish grazing reserve.
He, however, disclosed that arrangements had reached an advanced stage to establish ranches for modern animal husbandry in the state.
According to him, the state government consulted a cross section of people including traditional and religious leaders as well as youth organisations before arriving at the decision to establish the ranches in the state.
He accused his predecessor of instigating the youths to embark on the protest.
“Well that protest is just by a few ethnic groups. We have done a lot of consultations from traditional rulers to religious leaders to youth organizations; they all accepted that we should adopt ranching in Plateau State.
“What they are protesting is grazing reserve but we are not talking about grazing reserves.
“What we are talking about is ranches. So, those who attended the workshop knew what was done.
“This is the Presidency let me say it and I’m going to publish it, the man who introduced and is causing that confusion is Jonah Jang who incidentally was the one who introduced grazing reserves on the Plateau with a gazette in 2009, that is the gazette I am going to publish.
“If we have to bring peace in Plateau you have to introduce grazing reserves and grazing routes why is he turning round again and instigating people against what is being done.
“And trying to give an impression that it is the President that is introducing it. It is not the President. It is an option to every state to key into the concept of grazing reserve or ranches,’’ he added. NAN


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