By Ndahi Marama
MAIDUGURI—No fewer than 12,000 ghost workers have been uncovered by Bornu State government, saving N500 million monthly ‘ghost’ wage.
This came as aggrieved state pensioners, yesterday, invaded the state secretariat in Maiduguri and shut its gates over unpaid pension arrears and gratuities since 2016.
Speaking on what necessitated the biometrics exercise in the state, Governor Kashim Shettima explained that more 33,000 workers were hitherto in the payroll of Borno State government for many years, resulting in N2.5 billion monthly wage bill.
Governor Shettima said after biometrics, the number of valid workers had been trimmed down to 20,154, out which 2,000 were preparing to retire from the civil service.
Meanwhile, the protesting pensioners lamented the inability of Governor Shettima to pay them outstanding entitlements had forced their children to withdraw from schools over unpaid tuition fees.
However, the governor quickly held emergency meeting with the state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC; executives of Nigerian Union of Pensioners and some representatives of pensioners, and blamed ongoing data capturing and standardisation of pensioners’ payments in Borno State for the hitches.
He then set up a committee comprising representatives of all stakeholders, including journalists, giving the committee two weeks to ensure all concerns regarding the biometrics were cleared.
The governor said the committee involved in the biometrics had, besides identifying ghost pensioners, also found out that some persons had collected millions as pensions, while still receiving salaries.
Shettima said more than 9,000 pensioners had already been cleared and enrolled through the biometrics and already receiving pensions.
He noted that only 500 pensioners had cases with their biometrics, out of which 171 have been cleared by the committee, but that they have failed to present bank statements as part of the things required for submission to the biometrics committee before enrollment.