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Biometric exercise eliminates 300 ghost pensioners in Borno

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The recent biometric and verification exercise in Borno State has led to the elimination of 300 fake pensioners.

The three-year exercise led to the discovery of one of them collecting salaries from 21 ministries.

Governor Babagana Umara disclosed this recently when members of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Maiduguri.

He said the completion of the exercise last month made the payment of salaries and pensions possible.

While appreciating the exercise, Prof. Umara also said: “The biometric unit has the data, while the NLC has none.

“In as much as possible that members of BVC have their inadequacies, we shall also acknowledge the good works it has been doing to fish out 300 ghost pensioners. All efforts for me to get the verified list of workers proved abortive. But the head of the unit, Mallam Bako provided the data in 15 minutes.

“I had earlier mandated those that felt that they are genuine civil servants, but not on the payroll of state government to write and fill the verification forms and endorsed by the Head of Service (HoS), Accountant General, and Secretary to the State Government (SSG) before submitting to government.”

He said those that are cleared, shall be paid their salaries and allowances, noting that there is a lot of lacuna in the system.

“Payment of workers’ salaries and pension are their rights. It is not something new,” he said.

He said as 2020 approaches, the state government will look into raising the living conditions of workers, including the construction of houses for civil servants.

Speaking on workers’ productivity, he said: “Productivity of workers does not depend on numerical strength of civil service. If 500 workers that are productive work in the state secretariat, let it be.”

According to him, redundancy is not good, particularly with the identification of fake 300 pensioners by the committee.

He said that during the implementation of 2020 budget, all the 21 ministries would be expected to carry all the workers along.

On identification of ghost pensioners, he told the Borno NLC State Chairman, Bulama Abiso, that over 400 pensioners complained to government over their denials of pension by the committee.

He added: “On checking the master list of pensioners, about 300 of them have no records of serving the State Government. How can you pay gratuity to somebody, who is not on record at all?

“I have a lot of questions about the credibility of the biometric unit when I was the Commissioner in the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (MRRR).

“How can I be generous enough to just go and pay the pension of 300 ghost pensioners who have no records of service?”

He told the labour union that government will implement the recommendations of the appeal committee of the verification committee.

“I shall not work outside the recommendations of the appeal committee,” he said, but insisted that the biometric exercise remained closed.

He said workers that appeared before the committee for non-payments of salaries and pension will be examined, and gave the labour union one month to submit complaints of workers to the appeal committee.

He said thereafter, the administration will never entertain further complaints from anybody, and charged the leadership of the union to be upright in doing the right thing with strength.

“I want to be right and also be strong in fishing out ghost workers from government pay rolls,” he said, adding that anyone found wanting would be summarily dismissed from service.

He said next month the Local Government Areas biometric exercise will commence in 27 councils without stopping workers’ salaries.


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