Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, said on Tuesday that state governments were not asking for financial bailout from the Federal Government, but for a refund of monies they spent on federal projects.
Yari stated this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting between the governors and President Muhammadu Buhari held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that the states were only calling for strict adherence to constitutional provisions in relation to financial dealings to enable them to address economic challenges, including unpaid salaries of workers.
He said: “In our meeting today with the President today, we identified the problems and we are working towards addressing, solving the problems and not how to share money.
“At least, we need to work faster and rescue (the economy) and I want you to note that the economic crisis is not limited to the states.
“The states are not as bad as that. We made this very clear to the President that the total debts of the states, including the Federal Capital Territory, is N658 billion when put together.
“But the domestic debt of the Federal Government is N5.5 trillion. Therefore, we appreciate that all of us are in a problem.
“The Federal Government cannot pay salaries of its Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the states cannot pay salaries of teachers and other workers.“
Gov. Muhammed Abubakar of Bauchi, who also addressed the correspondents, dismissed the perception that their meeting with the President was to share monies among the three tiers of government.
According to him, the meeting is to enable the President and the governors to share ideas.
He said: “Let us understand first and foremost that the meeting was not about sharing. The meeting was about cross-fertilisation of ideas between the President and the governors of the various states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“And if you hear about `sharing`, all we are saying is we are operating under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“If you heard anything `sharing`, it refers to the excess crude account and you know that as at today, the excess crude account has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“So, the issue is not all about sharing and in fact, we have come to assure Mr President that in our own individual rights, in our states, we are taking action to assuage the situation.
“We are blocking loopholes; we are trying to stamp out corruption so that the business of government will be done in accordance with extant rules.“