Ghost Workers: Benue PDP senses lies in Alia’s claims, asks gov to publish offenders’ names

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Benue State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party has said that it didn’t believe claims from the governor of the state, Reverend Father Alia that his administration had discovered over two thousand Ghost Workers.

The Benue’s main opposition party also said it may not be true that the yet to be verified discovery of wage bill padding and “Ghost Workers” in the state’s civil service are reasons for non payment of salaries to workers by his government.

This was contained in a press release issued to journalists in Makurdi today by the State Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom.

The statement reads:

In a statement earlier today, the governor through his Chief Press Secretary, claims that “the first phase of an extensive staff verification and payroll audit for all teachers and local government staff has just been concluded, and it has already uncovered over 2500 ghost workers that have already been removed from the payroll”.

The statement also alleges the identification of “ghost schools, double dipping, unlawful employment, salary padding, payment to dead or retired individuals, unlawful replacement, inflation of the wage bill, as some of the payroll infractions discovered from the audit”.

Governor Alia is further quoted as assuring that, “workers who were successfully screened will receive their salaries before the end of this week, noting that government is not only fishing out ghosts workers and removing the padding associated with payroll fraud, but also putting in measures to ensure the systems are protected going forward”.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, however, takes those claims of Governor Alia with a pinch of salt considering his track record so far regarding public probity and accountability.

The party recalls that only recently his assets recovery crusade ran into a quagmire when vehicles carted away from a private automobile workshop could not be properly accounted for, even as members of the recovery team were caught on tape expressing personal interest in some of the seized vehicles.

PDP challenges the governor to make public such irregularities as he claims to have discovered in the state’s civil service as they border on criminality, and he is under oath to expose and prosecute crime wheresoever discovered under his watch.

Governor Alia should publish those acclaimed findings, as to do otherwise would amount to aiding and abetting crime, even as he will also be seen as only continuing on his witch-hunt and smear campaign against the Ortom administration as a smokescreen over his failures in office so far.

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