Niger State government, under the leadership of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, has uncovered 25,000 ghost workers in the state civil service.
The development was discovered following a screening exercise carried out by the government on the civil servants in order to effect payment of June 2020 workers salary, Naija News understands.
Lamenting on the situation, the State’s Chairman Salary Management Committee and Commissioner for Works and Infrastructural Development, Engineer Ibrahim Panti, described the development as unfortunate. According to the commissioner, while speaking with newsmen in the state capital, Minna, the exercise was done to address the delay in the payment of salaries for the month of June.
Panti revealed that about N672 million was discovered to have been received monthly by ghost workers and several millions of Naira also paid monthly to fictitious salary earners in the state payroll.
The commissioner stressed further that about 98% of the state allocation goes into salary payment and leaving almost nothing for the government to address other developmental projects. “In order to address the situation, the state government decided to conduct a screening exercise on the civil servants,” said Panti.
He noted that 30% of civil servants invited for the screening exercise never showed up, while among those that turned up, some were caught to have been using fake certificates in the state service.
“for example, out of 1,000 invited between 600 and 700 came for the actual screening. Out of 1,451 persons screened, 461 is on hold, 21 of them were retirees and rejected while 259 did not appear for the exercise,” Panti revealed.
He explained further, “before the exercise, the committee was presented with a figure of 36, 000 as the total number of the states’ workforce, but during the screening, it came down to 27,000 and later to 25,000.”
” We later discovered different serial numbers with the same BVN, repeated names with different bank accounts and fictitious allowances and salaries.”
He, however, noted that the government will ensure that those found guilty of the act would be dealt with according to the civil service rules and regulations as appropriate recommendations would be made to the government in its report on financial misappropriation of public funds.
Panti further boasted that despite the incident, the government will not seize from discharging its duties appropriately for the development of the state.
”Some of those involved have run to traditional rulers for intervention, resort to blackmail. But, we will maintain our stand by ensuring that the perpetrators, no matter their positions as well as their collaborators are fished out soonest for prosecution accordingly.”
In another news, Access Bank on Sunday announced that it will refund stamp duty deducted from customers’ accounts after social media outcries, Naija News reports.