Corruption looms Niger State government as she uncovers N672 million as payment to ghost workers in its civil service.
The chairman of the State Salary Management Committee and Commissioner for Works and Infrastructural Development, Engr. Ibrahim Panti, who disclosed this in Minna at the weekend, said the discovery was the reason for the delay in the payment of salaries of state workers for the month of June, 2020.
Panti lamented that 98 percent of the state allocation was usually used for salary payment, leaving almost nothing for the government to carry out developmental projects.
He said that in order to address the situation, the state government decided to conduct a screening exercise on the civil servants.
According to him, during the screening exercise, 30 percent of each group of workers invited for the screening never turned up.
He said that among those that even came, some were caught with fake certificates
“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 said.
The commissioner further stated that 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 added.
He said that those found wanting 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.
He said currently, he and other members of the committee are facing threats from different quarters. He, however, vowed that despite the threats, the committee would not be deterred from discharging its duty to 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,” Panti said.