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‘Ghost Workers’ Fight Back In Borno
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has raised an alarm over plans by alleged beneficiaries of corruption in the state’s civil service to cause breach of peace and security.
The governor who made a broadcast on Wednesday explained that the state recently discovered over N1 billion fraud in its wage bill after a biometric capture of the state’s civil servants.
Shettima said that he had constituted a high powered committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Usman Shuwa, to carry out the screening exercise of the civil service in fulfillment of his promise during the 2016 budget presentation to the State Assembly.
According to him, the verification committee discovered that of the over 25, 000 workforce on the payroll of the state government who are paid about N2.7 billion monthly in salaries, only 19,763 workers collected verification forms.
However, after the verification exercise and the biometric capture of data of the 19,763 workers was conducted, only 11,327 workers were captured while over 7,342 workers are yet to be captured due to one irregularity or the other.
Shettima said that government had to stop payment of salaries for two months to give room for the audit.
He added, however, that the State Ministry of Finance had been directed to commence immediate payment of N2,258,641.912.00, representing the two months salaries of the verified civil servants for July and August 2016.
The governor vowed that any bank found to be involved in the ghost workers’ fraud will be blacklisted and all government accounts with it will be closed or terminated.
He also commended the state leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, for its role and cooperation as well as participation in the verification and biometric data exercise.
Governor Shettima said those who feel aggrieved by the exercise and are planning to cause disorder in the state in the name of protest can go ahead with their plan, adding, however, that security operatives have been directed to deal decisively with anyone found disturbing public peace or causing public disorder.
The governor insisted that he will sacrifice anything to ensure transparency and accountability in the state civil service.
With regards to many Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the state, Shettima said plans have already been put in place to relocate the IDPs from Mafa, Dikwa and Konduga council areas to their communities within the next seven days from Wednesday.
He said the IDPs willing to return to their homes after the liberation and rehabilitation of the areas will be supported and encouraged by government to settle down, adding that those who do not want to return home can rent houses in Maiduguri but will no longer live in IDP camps.