The Nasarawa State government has received the final report of the biometric screening exercise of workers and pensioners of the state that it contracted a firm to carry out on the seventh of July, 2014.
It was undertaken to verify the actual number of workers and pensioners of the state.
Mr Tanko Almakura while receiving the report at the government house on Friday expressed belief the submission was timely and assured them it would be implemented immediately.
During the submission, leader of the delegation and consulting firm, Idris Yakubu, who outlined the objective of the exercise to eliminate ghost workers, advises the government to implement the report immediately.
The Governor also applauded the efforts of the consulting firm and believed the submission was timely, especially now that the state had intended to adopt the Treasury Single Account to manages resources and block loopholes.
He promised to implement the final report without wasting any time, as he ordered constituted authorities to act fast in that direction.
The exercise, which is the third and lasted for 18 months has gotten hold of over 1,600 ghost workers and will save the government a huge sum of money annually if implemented.
The Chairman of the Military Pensions Board, Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Dabo, has said that he would commence biometric screening of military pensioners across the 36 states of the federation to weed out ghost pensioners.
This exercise is coming amidst complaints from some pensioners that their colleagues are dying as a result of the stress they are subjected to before they receive their monthly pensions.
The Military Pensions Board has not done any screening for pensioners in the past three years even though the exercise ought to be an annual event.
According to the Chairman, pensioners whose biometric data is not captured would be removed from the payroll.
“This year’s verification exercise is going to be technical and we have to capture your biometric data. So you have to be there physically, we have to clear you and then verify you, take your fingerprints, and your photo geometry.
“Once we are able to do that, it would definitely reduce or eliminate all those who will try to beat the system,” he said.
Some of the pensioners, however, raised concerns about the approved centres for the verification in their states. They said that the issue of logistics and the distance they have to travel within their states had not been properly considered.
They asked for more verification centres to be created to cater for those who live in remote areas.
The verification exercise will be conducted simultaneously in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked government agencies in Nigeria to harmonise the collection and usage of biometric data, instead of replicating their efforts in this regard.
After receiving a briefing on the activities of the National Population Commission from the Chairman, Eze Duru Iheoma, who led other National Commissioners to the Presidential Villa on Monday, President Buhari wondered why each agency would gather its own biometric data when such data could easily be shared.
Government organisations that currently collect biometric data include: the National Population Commission, National Identity Management Commission, Federal Road Safety Commission and the Independent National Electoral Commission, among others.
President Buhari added that all the agencies should work collaboratively, instead of going in different directions, stressing that adequate data was necessary for planning and development in any country.
Mr Iheoma had briefed the President on what would be required for the commission to conduct a national census next year, 10 years after the last exercise, as stipulated by the United Nations.
A National Population Census, the Chairman said, would cost about 273 billion Naira, while about 10 billion Naira of the amount would be needed immediately.
He told the President that a biometric based census was being proposed because it would eliminate multiple respondents, and ghost respondents, while making the outcome easy to audit.