Ajimobi, fictitious screenings and the legend of ghost workers

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Suspicion everywhere as Ajimobi stops workers’ salaries

While some of us are getting set to get paid for the month of May, civil servants in Oyo state had the hopes of collecting December salaries crushed when the state government under the leadership of Governor Abiola Ajimobi announced it is suspending payment of December salaries over what it described as identification of ghost workers in its workforce.

This latest action further affirms what many people believe is true about the state governor – he doesn’t really like the civil service. Over the last 5 years, Oyo state government has conducted numerous screenings with many workers suspended over various actions. The latest is yet another of such. When I asked some workers in Oyo State Secretariat for their comment on the government’s latest statement, I was made to understand that the action was more or less geared towards delaying payment of salaries than identifying ghost workers.

“Don’t mind him, he wants to use the money for something else. That is how he acts when he wants to quickly use our money. God will judge him for punishing us unnecessarily,” a worker at secretariat said.

Commonsense

I still don’t know how things are being done in the Agodi Government House or the kinds of advises the governor is getting but all I know is this incessant affliction of the workforce is totally uncalled for. There is a deadline to the treatment the governor is meting out on the workers and posterity will never forget how he consistently made life unbearable for the workforce.

I don’t think I will take it lightly with anyone that I worked for and is now giving me cock and bull stories and churning out figures in an attempt to delay my salaries. No one is saying that ghost workers should be allowed to continue in the workforce, all I am saying is workers that worked should be paid. No one should be allowed to go to bed on empty tummy because a governor is trying to fish out ghost workers and due intelligence should be ensured to prevent punishing those that didn’t do anything wrong but were wrongly accused.

According to media report, the state government has announced the immediate suspension of salaries of about 16,532 workers drawn from different ministries, departments and parastatals for their alleged fraudulent practices ranging from falsification of retirement age, drawing multiple salaries and using multiple bank accounts to conceal financial illegalities, among others.

Besides, it announced the setting up of a five-man staff verification panel to evaluate the case of each of the affected workers “on a one-on-one basis” within the next two weeks, after which government will formally make public the results of the Panel’s findings and recommendations.

Addressing reporters yesterday on the matter, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Olalekan, said the decision followed the outcome of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) as contained in the database of the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS).

The SSG however, clarified that the 16,532 employees identified as having issues in their data would not be sacked or pronounced guilty of any financial impropriety until the final pronouncement of the Verification Panel.

Alli said 569 workers including pensioners, TESCOM employees, tertiary employees and Local Government staff were found to be drawing multiple salaries from multiple accounts while 1,277 employees who had passed retirement age are still collecting salaries on monthly basis.

“By matching our employees Bank Verification Numbers with other personnel data voluntarily supplied by all workers, the consultants were able to determine the consistency or otherwise in our staffing records,” Ali disclosed.

Shouldn’t the government had waited for the investigations to be completed before stopping salaries? What if they were found not guilty, wouldn’t they have to contend with the rigor of having their names re-added to the payroll? Hard and cruel world we live in

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