Kogi to provide soft landing for ghost workers
The Governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, who spoke through his Director General, media and publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, in Lokoja said the affected workers have stakes as indigenes hence the government will provide them with a safety net.
He said: “That was why the screening exercise is a win-win situation. As a responsible Governor, Yahaya Bello will not just throw them into the dungeon of uncertainty and poverty. He has developed a plan to empower them to become employers of labour.
“Areas of labour shortage will also be filled, giving opportunities to job seekers. The glorious days are ahead of us.”He indicated that the state government has kept faith with its promise to genuine workers that it would clear all outstanding salary arrears once the screening exercise was done with.
Fanwo explained that the exercise would benefit all as it will free funds for infrastructural development which will serve the over 90% people of Kogi who are not on the payrolls of government.
“This is key to economic development and amelioration of poverty. The exercise will also help genuine civil servants enjoy regular payment of salaries. It will help us to determine the duty schedule of civil servants and restructure the service for efficiency.
“Governor Yahaya Bello is already looking beyond the exercise which reports have been subjected to forensic tests by experts. The panel has also worked out the cost of providing social safety nets for ‘’innocent victims’’ of the exercise. This is being handled by Actuarial Scientists,” he explained.
Fanwo stressed that the State had been paying huge wages and salaries to workers, thousands of who were unintended beneficiaries.He added: “The implication of this is that we pay nothing less than one billion Naira to ghost workers or unintended beneficiaries every month.”
He said ordinarily a typical Nigerian politician would not even contemplate embarking on any staff verification for the reason of political safety above people’s welfare.
His words: “Confronting the ghost workers cabal in the system was one of the patriotic decisions of the present administration. It was a decision that emanated from statesmanship rather than a political mind. Politicians think of the next election while a statesman think of the next generation.
“To save the next generation and build a new Kogi State, it was necessary to stop the flow of billions of naira into unintended pockets.”According to him, the staff verification exercise made it open that some names on the payrolls were completely not real as they could not be traced to anybody.
“That was why thousands of ‘workers’’ did not even turn up for the exercise. Some workers were not properly
employed. Improper employment involves but not limited to giving appointments without due process.
Also, some workers falsified documents relating to their educational qualifications, age and others. We also have people who are earning multiple salaries.“This wouldn’t have been possible without a digitalized payroll, which is one of the objectives of this noble exercise. The exercise has also been able to check diaspora workers. People who claim to work for Kogi State but were staying and working in other cities like Abuja, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Kano and Ilorin,” he said.
He highlighted that some even have appointment letters bearing Kogi State since 1983 when the state was actually created in 1991.The Director General said Governor Bello did not institute the panel to sack workers, but to ensure only genuine workers are on the payrolls of the state.
In a bid to checkmate injustice he said after the submission of the reports of the panel, the Governor went ahead to setup an Appeal Panel to look into the complaints of affected workers.
“The panel is also done with its assignment and their reports will be submitted soon. Any affected worker will continue to have the opportunity of complaints as the exercise will be a continuum. All of these were put in place to ensure that the workers have access to justice under the New Direction Agenda.”