Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State has disclosed that his predecessor, Bello Matawalle, left a meager sum of N4 million in the state’s treasury. Consequently, the state is currently burdened with a significant amount of debt, leading to unpaid salaries for civil servants and security personnel. Governor Lawal, who assumed office on May 29, 2023, expressed his concerns during an interview with BBC Hausa. He highlighted that senior secondary school students in Zamfara have been unable to sit for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) due to the state government’s indebtedness of over one billion Naira.
The governor further stated that he has been managing the state’s affairs by relying on borrowed funds, as the treasury was virtually empty upon his assumption of office. The accumulated debt has resulted in disrupted power supply to government buildings, non-payment of daily operational allowances for security agencies, and a delay in salary payments for civil servants. Governor Lawal dismissed rumors that N20 billion was left in the state’s treasury by the previous administration, challenging them to provide evidence to support the claim.
Addressing the dire water shortage in the state, Governor Lawal admitted that there had been a lack of water supply in Gusau for four months. He mentioned borrowing funds to purchase necessary chemicals and seeking assistance from Indian donors who provided water supply machinery. While he acknowledged that the water problem is not entirely resolved, he assured the public that his administration is dedicated to finding a solution.
Governor Lawal pledged to prioritize the payment of salaries to civil servants before the 2023 Eid-el-Kabir festival, assuring them that all efforts would be made to secure funds for the owed salaries. He emphasized his commitment to fulfilling the responsibility of compensating workers for their efforts and expressed his determination to explore avenues to secure loans for this purpose. The governor acknowledged the challenges ahead but expressed his resolve to address them and fulfill his duties as the leader of the state.