The Bauchi State Government said it had discovered 6,065 ghost workers on its payroll.
The discovery followed the workers’ verification the state government compelled all civil servants to do since January this year.
The state Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, disclosed this during an interactive session with members of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bauchi State Council, at the Government House, Bauchi, on Sunday.
He admitted that there were lapses in the last rounds of the exercise in the state.
He said there were two set of errors in the last phase of the verification. The errors, he said, were human mistake which he apologised for, while he described the other as “deliberate sabotage.”
Abubakar said the state government was already using administrative rule to investigate workers involved in the sabotage, saying those found guilty would be dealt according to the law.
“During the exercise, we discovered 6,065 ghost workers on the payroll of the Bauchi State Government. This number could not be rated as small because even if you get 10 ghost workers, the exercise will be worth it as they will be taking much money illegally.
“There were lapses during the exercise and they were continuous. Don’t forget; the forces that endangered this phenomenon of ghost workers are very strong forces. They have been entrenched over time and a lot of money is being siphoned out of the coffers of the government.
“Those forces will not fold their arms and allow us to put a stop to their activities; so they were fighting us all through. It is not as if it will happen today and stop tomorrow. They are creating all sorts of bottlenecks for the system and that is why I’m saying the verification is going to continue,” the governor said,
Abubakar, while recalling that the last round of workers’ verification was done using the public servants’ Bank Verification Number, said the government would continue with the conduct of the exercise physically with various means devised for the MDAs heads to do it themselves.
“For instance in education, we have asked every principal and headmaster to write a list of all his/her members of staff and sign under, knowing full well that he/she is going to be responsible for that list. So, we have a basis to continue with the exercise,” he stated.
The governor, who said he could not disclose the amount so far saved from the past verification, attributed the inability to the garnishee order placed by an Industrial Court against the account of the state government for the non-payment of the April 2016 workers’ salaries.
He said that his government would embark on yet another round of workers’ verification to enable it to access the Federal Government’s budget support programme.
“So, verification is the policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria and it is also the policy of the Bauchi State Government, but I said we in Bauchi are going to do it differently,” he said.
He explained that the state government would not stop the payment of salaries during the verification of workers, stressing however that the exercise was not going to be a special occasion for anymore in which a committee would be set up to go round the MDAs.
“The verification is going to be routine; the heads of the MDAs will continue with the exercise as their responsibility,” he said.