Kogi uncovers 9,000 ghost workers •As gov says ‘state is sick’

The Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on Tuesday, said the state is critically sick and cancerous, noting that it uncovered over 9,000 ghost workers on its payroll.

The governor, who spoke at a stakeholders meeting where the committee set up for the screening of government workers, presented its preliminary report, said efforts would be made to heal the state.

Bello stated that his administration would ensure that no civil servant is unjustly removed from the payrolls, saying “workers reserve the right to return to banks of their choice when everything normalises.”

Presenting the report, the chairman of the committee, Mr Henry Agbaji, said over 9,000 ghost workers failed to appear before the committee for verification.

According to him, apart from pensioners, a total of 9,720 persons across the state, did not show up for the screening exercise, noting that this had reduced the workforce even before the commencement of the screening.

He explained that over 81,000 staff and pensioners in the state and the 21 local government areas, were screened by the committee following the resolve of the state government to clean up the system, in order to have a clean payroll.

The committee chairman said 25,208 forms were issued across the 21 local government areas of the state but noted that only 22,272 persons presented themselves for the screening.

He added that 2,936 assumed workers failed to appear, saying “they were considered as immediate ghost workers in the state.

Agbaji said the committee discovered that some persons were screened but their names were omitted from the successful screening list, saying it was the reason the governor set up a back up committee to address the issues.

He also said 25,662 screening forms were issued to primary school teachers but only 22,608 submitted themselves for the exercise, meaning the 3,054 teachers who did not show up were ghost workers.

The chairman of the committee lamented that some workers had issues bordering on forged certificates, lack of Bank Verification Number (BVN), while some  had no statement of bank accounts.

He added that some workers were in the employ of another state, but drew salaries either in the state or at the local government council of Kogi State.

Corroborating the committee chairman, the Auditor General of local government in the state, Alhaji Ahmed Ododo, who headed the back up committee that analysed the findings of the main committee, revealed that over 40 untreated forms were included the screened list.

He noted that some anomalies discovered in the activities of the screening committee had shown that cartain people were bent on sabotaging the effort of the government.