Nigeria: Niger Loses N682 Million Monthly to Ghost Workers

30 June 2020

Minna — The Chairman of the Niger State's Salary Management Committee (SMC) Mr. Ibrahim Panti, has disclosed that the state has been losing more than N682 million to "ghosts" workers every month for many years.

The SMC was set up in March by the Niger State Governor, Mr. Abubakar Sani Bello.

Panti, who is also the Commissioner for Works, said on Crystal Radio 91.3 FM personality programme monitored in Minna on Sunday that the state also loses millions of Naira to fictitious salary earners in the civil service.

He further said that the committee has discovered that many civil servants had gained employment with fake academic certificates.

Panti said that at least 30 per cent of those the committee invited for screening failed to show up while "some of those that appeared came with fake certificates."

"For every 1,000 invited between 600 to 700 came for the actual screening, out of every 100 we saw 70 or less are cleared" he said, adding that so far 1,451 workers have been screened while "461 were kept on hold, 21 of them are retirees while 259 did not appear for the exercise."

Panti disclosed that about 36,000 names on the salary payment vouchers that were presented to the committee were later brought down to 27,000 and again 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 said.

He lamented the high level of corruption in the civil service, which has resulted in 98 per cent of allocation available to the state going into salary payment "leaving almost nothing for the development of the state."

Panti said himself and other members of the committee have been receiving series of threats. "Some are death threats, but we will not be deterred from doing our work. Some of the civil servants have been going to traditional rulers to ask us to stop the exercise but we have said the interest of the state is more important than any other interest.

"Some of those we identified have hurriedly tendered their resignation letters while some others have abandoned their offices. We will go after them," he assured.

Panti said the shocking discovery has resulted in the delay in the payment of June 2020 salaries to workers but promised that "soon people will start receiving alerts from their banks"

He stated that the state government has received about N3 billion from the federation account monthly since the committee began its assignment with about N2.7 billion going to the payment of salaries while N50 billion was committed to other programmes including payment of public officials.

He did not say when the committee would complete its assignment.

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