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The committee on staff screening and verification in Kogi has discovered 9,720 ghost workers in the payroll of the state government.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr Jerry Agbaji, announced the development during a stakeholders meeting in Lokoja.

Agbaji said that the figures represented the number of workers in ministries and local governments who did not show up at all for the screening.

He said that the figure comprised of 4,060 state government workers, 3,054 teachers and 2,936 local government workers.

Agbaji, who is currently the acting permanent secretary in the ministry of information, arts and culture, said the committee screened more than 81,000 workers during the exercise.

He said that 22,272 workers in the 21 local government councils presented themselves for the screening while 22,608 primary school teachers submitted themselves for the exercise.

He said that the number of ghost workers would go up as many workers had issues ranging from forged certificates, double salary collection, bank verification number, fake letters of appointment and non-availability of bank statements, among others.

Also addressing the meeting, the Auditor-General in charge of local governments, Alhaji Ahmed Ododo said that the names of 40 unscreened workers were smuggled into the report.

Ododo, who chaired the backup committee to vet the report of the screening, explained that this anomaly and others discovered in the report showed that there were individuals bent on sabotaging the efforts of the government.

The auditor-general said that a member of staff of the College of Education, Ankpa, who had been in service for the past 39 years, was given a clean bill and asked to remain in service by the committee.

"Also in Kogi State University, there was a case of double employment where a man filled two forms signed by him and he was cleared.

``He is on the staff of the university and also on the staff of its teaching hospital. This man draws salaries amounting to N560,000 each from the two places,’’ he said.

Ododo said that the committee also discovered that the payroll of the Kogi State Polytechnic in Lokoja contained 1,200 non-existing workers, urging the government to raise an independent team to ascertain this and bring the perpetrators to book.

Earlier while declaring the meeting open, Gov. Yahaya Bello said that it was called to lay bare the interim report of the screening committee.

He reiterated that the exercise was not to witch hunt anybody but to reposition the state’s civil service and get rid of ghost workers.

Bello appealed to the genuine workers to remain calm, saying that their outstanding salaries would be paid as soon as the exercise was concluded. 

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