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Workers, Delta government bicker over screening


Delta state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

Delta state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa

The setting up of a panel by the Delta State government to verify records of its civil servants is causing tension in the state.

Top civil servants who spoke to The Guardian described the decision as a calculated attempt by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to blackmail workers.

According to them, the exercise would contribute further to irregular payment of salaries.

The 10-member verification committee was inaugurated on Tuesday in Asaba. The chairman of the State Civil Service Commission, Dame Nkem Okwuofu, said the governor constituted the committee with the terms of reference to investigate the dates of birth and mode of employment of public officers in the state.

She explained that the committee was also mandated to investigate public officers’ with discrepancies in their dates of birth and employment without justification and recommend to the state government the actions to be taken in line with extant rules.

Okwuofu said what prompted the setting up of the panel was the series of petitions and complaints alleging falsification of records by civil servants. She said the petitions stated that so many officers in the service were long overdue for retirement but kept altering their files to prolong their stay in the service. This, she said had made it impossible for government to employ young hands into the service.

While the verification committee was being constituted, some civil servants threatened to take the state government to court and face the consequences.

Their statement obtained by The Guardian queried: “What is the exercise for after biometrics? Now, it is birth dates and mode of employment. Is this Okowa’s prosperity agenda? We are tired of the governor’s style. Does he mean well for Deltans at all? We will resist his 2019 ambition.”

Okwuofu, however, promised that the committee would do a thorough job and will not betray the confidence reposed in it by the state governor. She added that alleged record falsification by civil servants amounts to fraud and is not healthy for the growth of the civil service.

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Delta StateIfeanyi Okowa.
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