Alia plotting to inflate wage bill, PDP raises alarm

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

The Benue State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party has accused Governor Hyacinth Alia of plotting to fraudulently inflate the state’s civil service wage bill with his claim to have discovered 2,500 Ghost Workers.

This was contained in a press release issued by the State publicity secretary of the party, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom.

The Benue main opposition party further stated the claim that Alia had discovered 2500 Ghost Workers and saved N1.2b in that process is nothing but a plan to defraud the state by inflating the wage bill.

The statement reads:

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State suspects that Governor Hyacinth Alia may likely be hatching a plot to bloat the wage bill of the state’s civil service following recent claims he had made which fly in the face of logic and totally beggar common sense.

Governor Alia, had recently claimed in the media that his government discovered and deleted 2,500 “Ghost Workers” from the payroll of the state, thereby saving a whopping N1.2 billion from the process and this raises concerns of a fundamental nature..

PDP, having taken this claim of the governor with a ‘pinch of salt’, had duly challenged him to treat such discoveries as criminal and duly without delay make public, as well as prosecute those behind the ‘ghosts’ and other forms of sleaze he claimed to have uncovered in the state’s civil service.

The governor had shied from this call to probity, transparency and accountability, rather his Chief Press Secretary and the armada of his office came out in fits of furious ad hominems, dodging the issue and starting fires in other fields unrelated to the subject as a red herring.

Yet, PDP is bound by duty to keep Governor Alia awake on his watch, and to that extent we alert him to the fact that the shroud of mystery surrounding this claim of N1.2 billion and 2,500 ‘ghosts’ raises nagging questions which neither his silence nor the vituperative rants of his media managers can sweep away.

By elementary arithmetic, PDP sees that dividing N1.2 billion by 2,500 ‘ghosts’ amounts to an average take-home of N480,000 for every ‘ghost’ per month, and this raises the scenario that with over 25,000 workers on its payroll, Benue State under Governor Alia will be looking at a wage bill above N12 billion monthly.

While the governor’s CPS and his coterie of nattering nabobs are yet rehearsing the steps for their usual bazaar of insults in the media as a response to the questions raised on the performance of their principal, PDP advises Governor Alia to apply to his claims of “Ghost Workers” “Ghost Schools”, wage padding, dead people being on the payroll of the state, the same gusto he has applied to his Assets Recovery crusade.

If indeed the Benue State Governor has unearthed such sleaze in the state’s civil service, as he is claiming, he ought to give the matter more serious attention than his chase after vehicles, and he will be appreciated more should he apply the same gestapo style of assets recovery to the exposing of ‘ghosts’ and the humongous sums of monies they have been swallowing, and the prosecution of the those behind it all.

Anything short of this will only confirm the fears that are already rising that given his track record of duplicity slippery style of handling state matters so far in office, the N1.2 billion and 2,500 “Ghost Workers” is likely a ruse and prima facie towards inflating the wage bill of the state’s civil service.

PDP assures Governor Alia that it will not shirk its duty to the people and the state to keep his government under the searchlight of public scrutiny, as a necessary ingredient of good governance, which is a combination of the working of the government on seat and the activities of a vibrant opposition.

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