Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has praisedÂ President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the stateâ€™s balance of N5 billionÂ bailout funds for the payment of workersâ€™ three monthsâ€™ outstanding salaries.
Lalong gave the commendation while fielding questions from StateÂ House correspondents on Friday, after a closed door meeting withÂ President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the state government has commenced the payment ofÂ the outstanding salaries to the workers.
“I came to thank the President for approving the balance of bail outÂ of N5billion 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 hasÂ 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, yesterdayÂ and today the workers are being paid the balance of their salaries.
“So, after salary for a Plateau man, he is no longer annoyed withÂ anything. He would allow government to run unhindered.
“So, that was what they were trying to use during the grazing reserveÂ because people were hungry because of lack of salaries.
“They first drummed the issue of salaries that we will not be able toÂ pay the arrears but today, we have the (monies) balance and we areÂ paying them the arrears of salaries.
“They jumped to issue of grazing reserves but by Godâ€™s grace, thatÂ will not be a problem to Plateau.â€™â€™
On the reported protest by some youths over the issue of grazingÂ reserve, the governor said that the state government had no plan toÂ establish grazing reserve.
He, however, disclosed that arrangements had reached an advanced stageÂ to establish ranches for modern animal husbandry in the state.
According to him, the state government consulted a cross section ofÂ people including traditional and religious leaders as well as youthÂ 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 lotÂ of consultations from traditional rulers to religious leaders to youthÂ organizations; they all accepted that we should adopt ranching in
“What they are protesting is grazing reserve but we are not talkingÂ about grazing reserves.
“What we are talking about is ranches. So, those who attended theÂ workshop knew what was done.
“This is the Presidency let me say it and Iâ€™m going to publish it,Â the man who introduced and is causing that confusion is Jonah Jang whoÂ incidentally was the one who introduced grazing reserves on the
Plateau with a gazette in 2009, that is the gazette I am going toÂ publish.
“If we have to bring peace in Plateau you have to introduce grazingÂ reserves and grazing routes why is he turning round again andÂ instigating people against what is being done.
“And trying to give an impression that it is the President that isÂ introducing it. It is not the President. It is an option to everyÂ state to key into the concept of grazing reserve or ranches,â€™â€™ he