Dauda Lawal, governor of Zamfara, says he has been running the affairs of the state on debts since he assumed office.
Speaking on Monday during an interview with BBC Hausa, Lawal said the state government has not paid civil servants’ salaries for about four months now.
The governor said the state has also not been able to pay security agencies their allowances, adding that senior secondary school students in Zamfara have not written the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO).
“I have been running the affairs of the state on debt since I assumed office as governor of Zamfara. I met the treasury account of the state with no money. I only saw a single account with about N3 to N4 million in it,” he said.
“It is about three months now and we are yet to pay the salary of the workers. If you look at all the government agencies, the power supply to the buildings has been disconnected due to the hundreds of millions of debts incurred.
“The security agencies, for three months now, the allowance given to them for their daily operations has not been paid. Currently, students of senior secondary schools have not written their WAEC and NECO exams because the government is owing over one billion naira.”
Reacting to whether N20 billion was left in the treasury by the previous administration, the governor said the claim was false, adding that the past government should publicly present proof showing the amount left in the state account.
“When I heard that, I asked that they should come and show me the account, and make it public with evidence of the account where such an amount of money was kept,” he said.
“If I have that amount of money the previous administration is claiming they left for the state, I will pay all workers their salaries, and provide adequate funds to the security agencies for the protection of the state.
“The issue of water, there has been no water in Gusau for about four months now. I had to borrow to purchase the chemicals for the water.
“I also pleaded with some Indians who gave the state some machines for water supply. If the state is to purchase those machines, it will cost over N200 million.
“I can not say that I have permanently solved the problem of water in Zamfara but I will do my best to see that the problem is solved.”
The governor said he would ensure that civil servants in the state are paid their salaries before the observation of the Eid-l-Kabir festival.
“I want to assure civil servants in Zamfara that we will do our best to ensure all workers’ salaries are paid before Sallah,” he added.
“I will do whatever it takes to pay the workers’ salaries. I am making all necessary efforts to find support to pay the owed salaries.
“It depends on the amount of loan I am able to secure. If what the state can afford to pay is the salary of one month, I will do my best to pay it as it is our duty to ensure that we are able to carry out our responsibilities of paying the workers what they worked for.”