Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State on Thursday said biometric exercise had assisted the state government to uncover 12,000 ghost workers on its payroll and save N500 million monthly.
Mr Shettima made this known at an emergency meeting with the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Titus Abana and executive members of Nigerian Union of Pensioners at Government House in Maiduguri, the state capital.
“More than 33,000 workers were on the payroll of Borno State Government for many years, resulting in government having to pay more than N2.5 billion every month on salaries,” he said.
According to the governor, after the biometric exercise, 20,154 have been identified as genuine workers, adding that 2,000 of the figure are already preparing to retire from service.
The governor explained that savings from the exercise were being deployed to other sectors while the recruitment of 1,000 teachers and other workers had commenced.
Mr Shettima said with the development, his administration had lifted the embargo on employment which was in force since the early 90s.
The governor described the biometric exercise as “very complex’’, saying some persons benefiting from fraudulent activities through pension payments were using different tricks to frustrate the process.
He explained that the committee had also uncovered some individuals collecting millions as pensions aside from their salaries.
According to him, more than 9,000 pensioners have already been cleared and enrolled through the biometrics and now receiving their pensions.
He noted that only 500 pensioners had cases with their biometrics, saying that 171 had been cleared by the committee but the affected pensioners failed to submit bank statements to ensure their enrollment.
The governor directed the state’s civil servants biometric verification committee to address the cases of 500 pensioners pending within two weeks.
It was reported that hundreds of pensioners in Borno State had stormed the state secretariat to protest the nonpayment of their gratuities and pension arrears since 2016.
The pensioners prevented state government officials from resuming duty at the secretariat.