Kwara State Government has suspended five senior officials implicated in the ongoing investigation of ghost workers and suspicious deductions of workers’ salary at the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
The officials are the Permanent Secretary of the parastatal Bayo Audu Onimago; Director of Finance and Supply of SUBEB Husseni Ahmed; account officers Mujeeb Ibrahim and Oyerinde Fatai; and a staff of the Teaching Service Commission who doubled as the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers Toyin Saliu.
“The indefinite suspension is connected to some discoveries of alleged fraud in the parastatal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This is in line with the efforts of the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration to cleanse the system, particularly at SUBEB where some startling discoveries have been made,” Murtala Olanrewaju, Commissioner for Communication, said in a statement.
“Salaries connected to the controversial names on the payroll have been flagged and suspended until the end of the exercise.”
Kogi state government has uncovered 18,471 ghost workers and unintended beneficiaries in the state civil service and pension.
The Staff Review and Complaint Committee Chairman, Yakubu Okala, stated this during the reading of the final screening report in Lokoja the state capital.
He noted that the unintended beneficiaries have gulped over 2.6 billion Naira from the state government every month.
Judges, members of the state legislative arm of government, top government functionaries, staffs of agencies and parastatals, organised labour, APC members and supporters, all attended the official presentation of the final screening report at the glass hall of the government house.
While submitting the report to Governor Bello for implementation, the audience were all amazed as the committee chairman read out their findings.
Mr Okala also noted that his committee discovered quite a number of minors in the state and local government pay rolls, while some were earning double salaries from the state government’s pause.
Governor Bello commended the committee for a work well done and promised to implement all the committee’s recommendation.
He also promised to engage those who would no longer be included in the state pay roll.
The committee was set up on July 26, 2016 by Governor Yahaya Bello to look into what was described as a shoddy work earlier done by the General Okutimo (Rtd) and Dr. Jerry Agbaji committees.
They had the mandate to come up with a recommendation that would “re-position the state civil service and public service for optimal performance.
“To subject to scrutiny the list of staff that have been adjudged, identified and authenticated by the screening and verification committee.
“To receive complaints from staff and determine the genuineness or otherwise of their complaints to determine and set out criteria for accessing thoroughness among others.”
The Chairman of The Forum of Heads of Services in the 18 local government areas of Edo State, Tom Ebhotemen, says local government authorities will commence investigation into the staffing of the primary schools in their LGAs to determine if the teachers being paid salaries are actually there.
Tom Ebhotemen said this resolution was arrived at, after the joint allocation meeting where it was discovered that the 18 councils will be left with 599 Million Naira to pay salaries out of the 1.8 Billion Naira Allocation from the Federation Account.
The statutory 5% of the allocation for traditional rulers, one percent training fund and teachers’ salary gulped 1.2 billion Naira.
“Because of the very large chunk of monies that goes for teachers’ salaries we have resolved that we will carry out snap checks on primary schools to ensure that the teachers we pay salaries to are really on ground.
“If you look at the total amount paid to teachers by all the local governments and other mandatory expenditure you have a total of N1.2 Billion out of a total of 1.8 billion Naira.
“You will now appreciate the difficulty that local governments are getting. Certainly with what we have left, most of the councils will find it difficult even to pay salaries and our normal obligations to our workers.
“But you realize also that these mandatory expenditures are not imposed on us by the government, they are our statutory responsibilities.
“We have also resolved that marriage registry should be strengthened in the various local governments.
“This is as a result of the Federal Government establishing marriage registry in some states of the Federation whereas the issue of marriage registry, registration of births and deaths is the statutory responsibility of the various local government as provided by Schedule (5) of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended.
“We have also resolved that councils should look more inward, since allocation has continued to dwindle and the Governor has advised us that we should be very hardworking so that our areas of revenue we can utilize all.”
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State says his administration will use the principles of fiscal responsibility to curb corruption in the state’s civil service.
The governor stated this on Monday when he received the report from the Fiscal Responsibility Committee he inaugurated in May 2016.
While receiving the report at the Government House in Lokoja, the state capital, Governor Bello said the direction of his administration goes along with absolute transparency, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption in the state public financial system.
The governor promised to implement the recommendations made in the report of the Fiscal Responsibility Committee, adding that his government has the political will to implement all recommendations made by various committees.
The nine man ad-hoc committee on fiscal responsibility was inaugurated by the governor to review certain fiscal policy relating to the implementation of a treasury single account, contributing pension scheme and a productive post autonomy for state internal revenue services.
The chairman of the committee, Professor Stephen Ocheni says the the Fiscal Responsibility Committee was set up to advice the state government on ways to manage its scarce resources, privatize and put to use judiciously the resources of the state.
He added that as a result of certain steps taken, the state government is now saving about N1 billion every monthly.
Professor Ocheni suggested that once the government matches action with words corruption in the state civil service will be reduced significantly.
Preaching Fiscal Discipline
The choice of Professor Ocheni to lead such fiscal responsibility drive in the state has been seen as a strategic move by the state governor.
Mr. Ocheni, who is a Professor of Public Sector Accounting at the Kogi State University, Anyigba, is regarded as one of the foremost advocates of the Treasury Single Account policy.
While presenting a paper at a workshop in January organised by the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), and The World Bank in Abuja, Prof. Ocheni argued that the implementation of TSA will help tame the tide of corruption especially in the civil service.
He added that the TSA and other fiscal control mechanisms facilitate better fiscal and monetary policy coordination.
The Kaduna State government says it has identified over 13,000 suspected ghost workers in the state civil service.
The Head of Service, Mrs Alisabatu Dada-Onazi, disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the state executive council meeting.
She explained that the ghost workers were uncovered after series of verification exercises were conducted to ascertain the actual number of genuine civil servants on the Kaduna State government payroll.
The Head of Service pointed out that the decision to embark on the verification exercise was informed by the disturbing amount of money being paid as workers’ salaries every month, whereby government spends all its allocation from the federation account on overhead costs.
She vowed that all those involved in the criminal act would be prosecuted accordingly.
Following the verification exercise, Mrs Dada-Onazi said that the number of workers in the state civil service has been reduced from over 88,000 to 75,726.
She, however, apologized to all who suffered hardship while the exercises lasted.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a presidential initiative on continuous audit, to strengthen controls of Federal government expenditures.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made the decision known on Wednesday while briefing reporters on the outcome of the FEC meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mrs Adeosun said that the initiative would not just strengthen the internal audit of the payroll but general expenditures, which may include among others, contracts and pensions of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) without notice.
She revealed that the government had commenced the second phase of the payroll of another potential 11,000 ghost workers.
This the Minister said was sequel to the first phase of the payroll audit which revealed the existence of 23,000 ghosts workers, which saved the country about 2.29 billion Naira.
The Yobe State Governor has sworn-in new Council Chairmen and mandated them to support the on-going salary verification exercise to eliminate ghost workers.
Administering the oath of office on the new appointees on Thursday, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam urged them to carryout a bio-metric exercise of all Local Government workers and fully implement the approved policies arising from the report of the exercise.
He also asked the chairmen to be prudent with the scarce resources and to concentrate only on provision of essential services such as water supply, healthcare services, and education among others.
The Governor urged the incoming officials to consolidate on the successes recorded so far by the outgoing chairmen, whom he lauded for their efforts towards developing their areas.
He also praised President Muhammadu Buhari for the significant improvement in the on-going fight against terror and appealed to the people of the state to accord security agents the desired cooperation.
“I would like to expressed my gratitude to the almighty Allah that since the inception of the Buhari administration at the centre, we have witnessed significant improvement in the on-going fight against insurgents and other acts of terrorism in the northeast region, in particular and the nation at large.
“We thank Mr President for his untiring efforts to bring the activities of the insurgency to an end. My appeal to the entire people of Yobe State is to continue to pray for the full restoration of peace and security in the state and the country as a whole,” he said.
Governor Gaidam also thanked the Speaker and members of the Yobe State House of Assembly on the approval granted for the appointment of the new chairmen.
He stressed that he would continue to count on their support and cooperation in the implementation of the policies and programmes of his administration.
The appointment of the new Caretaker Committee Chairmen of the 17 Local Governments in the state was sequel to the expiration of tenure of elected Council Chairmen in December 2015.
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, says his administration has concluded plans to immediately create over 3,000 jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.
Governor El-Rufia said that the plan was part of efforts by his administration to reduce youth restiveness and unemployment.
El-Rufai who expressed worries over the high rate of unemployment in the state, reiterated his commitment to fulfilling all his campaign promises, including that of creating employment opportunities through public and private partnership for youth and women across the 23 local government areas of the state.
Addressing residents of Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone during his first town hall meeting organised by office of the Special Adviser on Political Matters, El-Rufai said talks were on with some investors to build world class industries in the state that would employ a sizable number of people in their workforce as soon as possible.
The Governor also reeled out his programmes for the state, saying his administration will continue to listen to people, in order to get their feeling about the steps taken so far by his administration,
Governor El-Rufia further announced that he had issued a directive to the office of the Head of Service, to employ 10 persons each from the 255 wards in the state, to work as Health Inspectors, and over 1,000 others to be engaged in a proposed fertiliser plant that would be built in the state soon. This, he said, was part of measures aimed at reducing idleness among the youths in the state.
Commenting on the ongoing verification of civil servants in the state, the Governor explained that the exercise was aimed at fishing out ghost workers in the state workforce.
He also added that the initiative was not targeted at sacking any worker, as being alleged by some people.
In their separate remarks, the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress appealed to the government to make the verification of civil servants stress free.
The leaders also tasked the Governor on the implementation of the Housing and Transport Policy for Civil Servants, in order to ameliorate their sufferings.