Niger State Government has sacked over 6,000 workers it termed ‘ghost’ in the state workforce. The state government said the ghost workers were discovered by a consultant it hired to conduct staff verification in the 25 Local Governments Councils of the state.
The Permanent Secretary in charge of the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state, Adamu Garafini, who disclosed this to newsmen in Minna on Monday said the State government hired a consultant to verify the number of workers in the Local Government Areas of the state following the huge salary bills it had to contend with in the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wages.
A total of 26,846 workers were on the payroll of the 25 Local Government Areas while 23,452 were screened out of which 19,296 cleared by the consultants, it was discovered that 3,394 workers did not appear for screening, raising suspicion that they are ghost workers.
According to him, it was also discovered that 207 staff duplicated salary accounts into which monthly stipends are paid simultaneously while 565 are under-aged children on the payroll.
He added that 29,778 teachers were on the payroll out of which 26, 246 were screened and 3, 532 did not show up for verification, adding that 19,761 teachers were cleared. 620 of the teachers duplicated their salary accounts while 300 were employed after the government had placed embargo on employment.
Mr. Garafini said that 2,157 teachers were discovered to be unqualified while 319 were due for retirement but refused to go.
When the screening exercise was organised by the state government in December last year through a consultant to determine the authenticity of its workforce, many of the civil servants complained that their names were omitted from the payroll.
One of them who arrived the State Head of Service Secretariat on Monday morning said, “there is no basis for subjecting civil servants again to this stress after the last verification exercise.”
This is my 32nd year of active service and I am nearing retirement, only for them to tell me that if I do not see my name on the head of service list then I am a ghost worker. How can I serve meritoriously till now and some consultants are now saying I am a ghost worker.
I have been screened and cleared, but only for me to get to the office today and my organisation told me that only those who got February alerts (salary) are verified workers.
Since I did not get an alert for salary, my boss urged me to rush to the Head of Service office with my appointment letter and pay slip to see if I can get my case rectified.
Another affected worker Isah Abdulkadir said:
Governor Bello can not tell me that I am a ghost worker. It is very unfortunate that over 6,000 Niger State civil servants, including me who have worked for over 20 and 30 years are being tagged as ‘casual or ghost workers’.
We went for screening exercise conducted recently by the government and we were paid December, 2015 and January this year and they refused to pay February salary.
We are now referred to the Head of Service for another verification. The Governor must act fast before it turns to a serious crisis