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I inherited empty treasury, huge debts – Buhari

Yvonne Williams

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said he inherited a country with virtually empty treasury from his predecessor, former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said the country bequeathed him was also being weighed down by debts running into millions of dollars.

Buhari spoke during a meeting he had with State House correspondents to mark his first day in his office.

The President relocated to the Presidential Villa on Sunday evening barely three weeks after he was inaugurated.

He had been operating from his private residence and the Defence House, the official residence of the President-elect.

Buhari said it was disgraceful for state and federal workers not to be paid their salaries.

He told the journalists that he would need their help on the bad management the nation had found itself so that they can protect him from the people before they would march on him.

He said the culture of assessing government’s performance in the first 100 days in office was putting pressure on him considering the effects of the mismanagement he inherited.

Buhari said, “This culture of 100 days (in office) is bringing so much pressure with treasury virtually empty, with debts in millions of dollars, with state workers and even federal workers not being paid their salaries.

“This is such a disgrace for Nigeria.

“I think Nigeria should be in a position to at least pay its workers.

“This bad management that we find ourselves in, we really need your help to protect us from people before they march on us.”

Buhari said it was not by accident that he appointed one of the best journalists in the country, Mr. Femi Adesina, as his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

He said he brought Adesina so that he could consistently defend him against his co-journalists.

He said whether his job would be easy or not would depend on the presidential spokesman.

The President expressed the hope that what happened recently under former President Goodluck Jonathan when a State House correspondent was expelled would not happen under his watch.

Buhari was accompanied to the parley by Adesina and his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.