Rochas Okorocha
Governors of Nigeria’s 36 states, including Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, pictured here in December 2014, have called for a bailout to cover months of unpaid government employee salaries. Reuters

Lawmakers in Nigeria have called for a bailout to cover months of unpaid government salaries in several Nigerian states. Governors from the country’s 36 states have blamed bad economic policies and declining revenue they receive from Abuja, the country’s capital, for their inability to pay state employees, according to TV360 Nigeria.

Lawmakers were expected to meet Wednesday to discuss the details of a bailout. “On the economy of the nation, we are concerned and worried by the dwindling revenue of the states, which today has affected negatively the lives of our people,” Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state, told journalists. The governors had met Tuesday to bring up the idea of a bailout, according to Premium Times Nigeria.

The falling price of oil in Nigeria has meant dwindling revenues for the federal government since 2014. President Muhammadu Buhari won 54 percent of 29 million votes cast in March to unseat former President Goodluck Jonathan, the first incumbent to lose an election since democratic elections began in 1999. Those pushing for the bailout say Jonathan's administration depleted Nigeria’s foreign reserves, fueling a financial crisis for state governments.

Some states have been unable to pay employee salaries for as much as 10 months, officials said. “The matter has become so serious that urgent action must be taken for a bailout for the states, as things are not getting better either,” said Okorocha. “We have sat down to review steps that should be taken, and we are calling for total overhaul of the system to block all the leakages in our nation’s economy.”

Lawmakers called for an overhaul of the economy. “We would discuss openly and collaboratively on how to enhance the revenue drive in the states. By sharing experiences and proposals, the belief is that we can collectively contribute to the best way out of the present quagmire,” our source told Premium Times Nigeria.