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Debtor States: Banks Seize NLNG Funds



The governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari says some states were deprived of their share of the $2.1 billion Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) to help states solve their indebtedness to their workforce.

Speaking with state house correspondents after a meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, he said the states in question lost their funds to the banks they were owing.

“What I’m saying, no money is released yet but I think the NLNG money that was given, some states, their own was taken by the banks because it is due for them to pay some certain repayment of loans, which they cannot. So, therefore, automatically, that has to go there,” he said.

“But I think the CBN governor is negotiating with the banks on how we are going to share in case… Now, we have agreed that this bailout or intervention funds are coming so that they will know the purpose, [that they] were made for the states, to rescue them to ensure that they pay staff salaries in their respective states.

“But for sure, some other governors reported that money went to their accounts; it was taken by some banks because of their outstanding loans.”

Yari talked down the significance of the economic crisis in many states, saying the governors deserved to be bailed out by the federal government in the same manner the banking industry had been, in the past.

“As I have been saying, the bailout has been made in the banking sector and bailout has been made in the downstream sector of the economy,” he said.

“So, now, if states are in trouble as we all agreed that yes, there is a problem, some states cannot pay salaries, if the federal government says okay, we are going to make some kind of adjustment to states to get out of their problems, if you call it bailout, it is okay. If you call it intervention, it’s okay.

“But the reason why I think so many governors don’t talk about the issue of bailout, they are thinking as if money is going to be created for governments or for governors to go and continue, as we have prescribed, they were somehow reckless. You get the point?

“So, the actual thing is we have a problem and there are no two ways about it. The federal government has to come to the rescue of the states or else, you have a failed state. The federal government cannot fold its arms and the states will be in trouble.”