About 20,000 ghost workers have been detected on the payroll of the 25 local government areas in Niger State, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Garba Tagwai, has said.
Mr. Tagwai, who made the disclosure in Minna on Monday while briefing newsmen, said the ghost workers were discovered during the screening of the local government staff and teachers, which began last month.
He said 7,000 were considered non-existent since they did not attend the screening, while the remaining 13 000 others were found to be children, retired workers, unqualified teachers and people illegally placed on the payroll.
“We have a case of an account number that has seven names linked to the account for the payment of salaries and no cogent explanation could be given for this criminal act.
“The preliminary report on the screening exercise shows that only 40,000 workers were cleared from the 60,000 workforce in the 25 councils, clearly showing that 20,000 could not be verified, what you call ghost workers,” he said.
The Commissioner urged those with genuine claims on why they missed the screening exercise to approach the ministry before the end of this month or have their names deleted from the payroll and government record.
He said that screening would be a continuous exercise, urging people with information on existing ghost workers to assist the ministry.
“We will continue to remove names from our record, if we have cogent reason to doing so,” he said.
Mr. Tagwai said the ministry had directed that the salaries of council staff and primary school teachers for November and December be paid before Friday, Dec. 23, at the old rate, while arrears of the new wages would be paid in January 2012.
“We have a figure of 60,000 workforce and a bill of N3.5 billion to pay the new wages. We decided to screen the workers to ascertain the actual workforce, which is about rounding up now.”
He urged organised labour to pacify their members to accept the old rate, promising that the new rate would be paid from January, with the arrears for November and December.