Borno Uncovers 22,556 Ghost Workers

Borno State Government said it had saved the state millions of naira from people parading themselves as officials in its civil service.

The government said no fewer than 22,556 people were uncovered in two reports by the salary verification committees for pretending to be teachers and local government workers or absconding duties while receiving salary after two simultaneous verification exercises were conducted.

Borno is the worst-hit state of the decades-long Boko Haram insurgency in the country that has killed over 40,000 people and left millions displaced.

The insurgency has given rise to laxity in the civil service as many state workers continue to breach the civil service codes of absconding duties and yet collecting salaries.

This is not the first time the state government has uncovered ghost workers. 

In September, a government report said the state lost N1.8 billion to ghost workers in local government areas in the last 10 years.

In the new reports presented to Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State on Thursday, 14,762 ghost workers were discovered in local government pay systems, while 7,794 were fished out as fake teachers.

The committees on local government staff and primary school teachers verification chaired by Kaka Malam Yale and  Dr Shettima Kullima respectively said N420 million was saved from the exercises.

“The amount came from about N183.6million recovered in bogus teachers salary while another N237 million was recovered from LGA staff,” the reports said.

The chairman of the verification committee on primary school teachers, Shettima Kullima said the total number of primary school teachers in the 27 local government areas was 26,450 before the verification.

He added that 24,250 teachers took part in the exercise while about 2,204 did not appear before the committee.

The total gross salary of the teachers before the verification, Kullima said,  was N693 million and was then reduced to N509 million after 18,656 staff were cleared during the biometric data capture, thereby saving N183 million.

For Kaka Yale who chaired the committee for local government staff verification, by the end of the exercise, the number of staff dropped from 71,568 to 56,806.

This was followed by a drop in salary from  N1.1billion to N965 million being the new salary for the 27 local government areas.

Receiving the reports, Governor Zulum said the verification exercise along other measures were taken “to make the local government a veritable tool for local transformation”.

Zulum added that the primary school teachers verification was aimed at improving the standards of education, noting that his administration attached high priority to primary education.

The governor also said his administration “will ensure provision of teaching aids, motivation of teachers through the provision of housing facilities, improve their welfare by rewarding hardworking and exceptional teachers.

“We will continue to provide education grants to orphans and the children of the less privileged in communities, while scholarship will be approved in due time for students within and outside the state.”

He commended donor agencies, particularly, the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP  for collaboration to improve the standard of education in Borno.

Zulum also applauded the committees for working tirelessly in discharging their duties as he extended their mandate by two weeks to make recommendations on the issues raised in their reports.

The verification exercise was instituted in 2013 by the former governor, Ibrahim Shettima, to curb irregularities in the state civil service.

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Aishat Babatunde

Aishat Babatunde heads the digital reporting desk. Before joining HumAngle, she worked at Premium Times and Nigerian Tribune. She is a graduate of English from the University of Ibadan.

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