Nigerian governors have asked President Muhammadu Buhari for a bailout fund to address the security situations in their states. The governors made this submission on Tuesday at a meeting between President Buhari, members of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) security council, and security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting, held via videoconferencing, was also attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to a statement signed by Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, in his remark, urged the president to consider a bailout for states; especially as governors allowed the federal government to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account for the procurement of weapons to fight insecurity in the country.
The governors had in April also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend all fund deductions from states and restructure their debt repayments to help safeguard the liquidity of state governments and mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the economy.
“In their submissions anchored by their Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, and Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, the Governors highlighted the problems of poverty, unemployment, the trust deficit between the military and civilian populations and the inflow of small arms into the country,” Mr Shehu wrote.
“The Governors also pointed to the problem of coordination among military and security chiefs and played up their own security roles which included USD1 billion they allowed the President to withdraw from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for weapons procurement two years ago.
“They, therefore, urged the President to consider a “bailout” for security for the States in view of the enormity of the resources they now expend in support of the military and the police,” Mr Shehu said.
Nigeria’s security situation has continued to deteriorate in various areas.
While Boko Haram insurgents still carry out attacks in Borno and neighbouring states, armed bandits attack communities in the North-west at will, killing and kidnapping residents.
Kidnapping for ransom has also become widespread in many parts of the country.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the U.S. government recently cautioned its citizens not to travel to many states in Nigeria because of the security situation.
The security situation has continued to deteriorate despite the defence sector taking a large chunk of Nigeria’s budget since 2015, often higher than education and health.
The $1 billion withdrawn from the excess crude account was separate from the normal budgetary provisions for defence.
Despite the monetary provisions, however, both the military and the police have continued to complain of underfunding and inadequate personnel and equipment.
By Kunle Sanni,