Kogi State has lost a staggering N213bn to ghost workers in the past 13 years just as no fewer than 18,000 ghost workers have been discovered in its just-concluded weeding exercise conducted on its civil service.
The latest discovery according to the state Auditor-General, Alhaji Yusuf Okala, who made the disclosure while presenting the report of the screening committee set up by the state government to weed out ghost workers from the state’s civil service, had saved the state over N16bn in its annual wage bill.
A breakdown of the figures of the newly discovered fraud showed that there were 18,000 ghost workers in the employment of the state government out of which 5,683 were ghost pensioners
Okala disclosed that the state had lost N213bn over a period of 13 years that the fraud had been going on.
Okala said that the total number of the state’s workforce before the discovery was 88,973 out of which 63,870 were cleared while the remaining were either ghost workers, or people who had falsified their age, presented fake certificates or discovered to be Diaspora workers.
Governor Yahaya Bello lamented the level of rot he met in the state civil service on his assumption of office which he said informed his decision to set up the committee charged with the responsibility of weeding out ghost workers from the service.
He said, “My administration was amazed at the level of corruption going on in the state where only two per cent of the population was sharing the entire resources meant for the whole state with a population of over 3 million.
‘’I did not contest to be the governor on the whim of anyone but to put a stop to the criminal activities of the past regimes.”
He added, “The state under my watch will be making super efforts to ensure that genuine and hard working citizens of the state were paid as when due. The backup review exercise will be on going until the state civil service is totally free from ghost workers syndrome.”