President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said he inherited a country with virtually an empty treasury from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The president, who met with State House correspondents on Monday to mark his first day in the Aso Rock office, said his administration was facing debts running into millions of dollars. But he did not mention how much debt he met.
Lamenting that it was disgraceful for state and federal workers not to be paid their salaries as and when due, he told the correspondents that he would need their help to avoid a situation where Nigerians might march on him.
The President added that the culture of assessing government’s performance in the first 100 days in office was putting pressure on him considering the mismanaged economy 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, 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.
The President said, “It is not by accident that I got one of your best colleagues (to be the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity); one of the 15 aides I had to get clearance from the Senate.
“He is one of the best that I can have as special advisers. I brought one of the best of you so that he can consistently defend me against you.
“Whether my job is a difficult or easy one; it is up to him but I am here to thank you in advance for what good and ill you are going to do to me,” he said.
The President expressed the hope that what happened 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, Garba Shehu.
Shortly after resuming work, Buhari had met with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and some of his key aides.
He thereafter met behind closed doors with service chiefs.
It will be recalled that 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 in Abuja.