Nigeria: 5000 ghost workers uncovered in Plateau
Published on February 10, 2013 by pmnews · No Comments
No fewer than 5,000 ghost workers are on the payroll of the government of Nigeria’s Plateau state, Mr Yakubu Jang, the Special Adviser, Special Duties, to Plateau Governor, has revealed.
Jang, who is Chairman of the Biometric Data Capture Committee, authenticating the state’s 21,000 workers, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Sunday.
He said that 11,176 workers had so far been cleared and certified as authentic, adding that only those cleared would be paid the January salaries.
According to him, of the remaining, 5,000 cases are pending with `small issues’.
“We have set up an appeal panel to determine their cases. So at the end of the day, we may end up with about 16,000 workers. There is practically nothing about the other 5,000 “employees’’.
“Our conclusion is that such people are fake and never existed in the first place,’’ he said.
He said that committee found out that so many workers did not have files; others had been in the service for 10 years and actually had files, but there was “no communication in such files at all.
“The files have no activity in them. They contained nothing on promotion, steps upgrading, annual leave or anything. Just blank files,’’ he said.
“We also found many cases where some persons promoted themselves by about four or five grade levels so as to earn salaries and entitlements they were not qualified for.
“In one very bizarre case, we found that someone had promoted himself to `a commissioner’ and was drawing salaries and all other entitlements for that office,’’ he said.
He said that the committee initially provided 18,330 forms with an intention to produce more since the nominal roll indicated that there were 21,000 workers.
“But of the 18,330 forms, only 17,000 were returned. From that 17,000, after checking the files and cross matching everything, we got only 11,176.
“In fact, the monthly wage bill of N1.7 billion dropped by about N100 million immediately we started the biometric capturing.
“What we suspect is that, people that had always smuggled names into the pay roll suddenly stopped for fear that they may be discovered,’’ he said.
The governor’s aide said that the committee was already digging into the missing names so as to ascertain who was slotting them into the pay vouchers.
He noted, however, that fighting corruption in the civil service was, indeed, a difficult task, but declared that the committee was made up of “eagle-eyed’’ members with impeccable records in various endeavours.
“I agree it is easier to destroy than repair, but we are putting in a lot to clean up the system.
“The committee that looked into the open and secret files of the workers, for instance, is made up of experienced civil servants.
“We also realised that there are still a lot of good eggs and have consistently worked with such people to implement the reforms that are already sweeping through the Plateau civil and public service.’’
He said that the focus of the State Government was to create a conducive atmosphere that would put Plateau back on the path to growth, progress and prosperity.
“Plateau has potential for huge growth, but that has been delayed by the inability of successive governments to build on the solid foundation laid by its founding fathers and what we are doing is to ensure that the right things are done.’’
Aside the innate corruption government was battling with, the special adviser said that a major drawback was the persistent insecurity that had become the lot of the state in the past 11 years.
According to him, persistent insecurity has posed a serious challenge to the State government. It has frustrated so many plans and made it impossible to achieve set goals.
“It is difficult to quantify how much government has spent in its search for peace.
“Our only luck is that Gov. Jonah Jang has been very prudent with resources and can, therefore, sink so much into security and still have something left to develop projects that liter the state.
“The situation has been particularly challenging because there has been no assistance from anywhere. We have had to bear this burden alone,’’ he explained.
He blamed the lingering crises on some unresolved issues like the lack of equity by past administrations, and stressed that the Jang administration had been striving to right such wrongs so as to give a sense of belonging to all.
“What we are trying to do is to install a fair system where everyone will benefit and also have a say in what happens in governance.
“The past system only created all manners of crises entrepreneurs and we want to end that permanently.’’
The special adviser advised Plateau residents to be positive and to develop open minds to fully participate in the march toward a Plateau everyone would be proud of.