President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his government and Nigeria can not afford to pay forty two ministers and that not all the minister nominees that have been screened will have portfolios.
Moreso he went on to say that the country Nigeria was ‘material and morally vandalized’ and that he will reduce the numbers of ministries.
Buahri in an interview with Channels TV and Nigerian Television Authority in New Delhi in India said that he is working with a team of people introduced to him by others that he trust and must work with them.
Buhari while reacting to question on the the divide in the National Assembly over Rotimi Amaechi’s confirmation as minister said he did not walk into the presidency alone hence he can not work alone and that some of those having problems at the National Assembly he has never met them.
‘This is team work. I said I know people but there are people that I accept from other people in our team that I trust without even knowing them.’
‘May be those that are having problem in the National Assembly, I doubt if I have met them in my life but then I am working with others.’
‘I did not work into the presidency alone. I have to defend on all the three tiers of government from all part of the country.’
Backing his 36 Minister nominees Buhari said that he can not work outside the constitution and that ministers must be appointed in conformity with the constitution of the Federal Government in that ministerial appointment must reflect the 36 states of the country.
And that these minister nominees though representing their states, some will not have portfolios but will be part of his cabinet.
‘We can not work outside the constitution. There must be a cabinet representative from each state.’
‘There used to be forty two ministers but I think we can barely keep half of that now because we can not afford it.
‘Others may not be substantive ministers but they will seat in the cabinet because that is what the constitution said and we can’t operate outside the constitution.
We are reducing the number of ministries we can’t afford to pay.’
Buhari in the interview also said that the country has no money to pay salaries as the government had to seek the Central Bank governor to look for ways to pay states workers’ salaries.
‘Where is the money? Do you know the Federal Government has to help twenty seven states out of thirty six to pay salaries?.’
‘Nigeria can not pay salaries!Nigeria had to summon the Governor of the Central Bank to see how it could pay salaries not to talk of projects, agreement signed with foreign countries, counter funding and so on. The country was materially vandalized and morally so.’
On his ambition to see that the dreaded Boko Haram group is crushed by December the president said that his is optimistic on the capability of the military and other government agencies in crushing the terrorists and feel sorry for those who think otherwise or have given up on wining the war against terrorist.
‘I am an optimistic person. I am sorry for those who have already given up. I remain confident that our military and other law enforcement agencies are more than equal to the task.’
‘Don’t forget that I made an earlier statement to the effect that the Nigerian military and police earned accolades all over the world: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan.’
“They earned international respect and then here you are, where the Nigerian military and other law enforcement agencies could not secure 14 local governments out of 774 until the government was changed.’
Further more on how he feels when critics say he is being selective in the fight against corruption, Buhari said that any one who is not corrupt should not be afraid rather they should encourage him to go headlong with the fight.
‘…if they are not involved in corruption they won’t mind; they would encourage us to get whoever compromised his position in the trust being given on to him. I see it in the papers watch it on screen but i have never lost a sleep on it because those that are not corrupt should even encourage us to do more. But those that are interested in the safety of those that have abused trust in the country’s office will go to any lenhgth including bribing people to give false information and so on.’
He went to say that he is not being selective in his fight against corruption and that those caught will be prosecuted for Nigerians to see.
‘Whoever is caught, the documents used in incriminating him or her will be used to prosecute him for Nigerians to know who has abused thrust.’
On how he want to be remembered, the president said that ‘if we survive it, I want Nigerians to have found out that I was genuine,a real patriot not that I only forgot the Civil war but fought corruption to a stand still’.