Benue Local Government Service Commission has uncovered 3,460 ghost workers on the payroll of the 23 local governments in the state.
The Chairman of the commission, Dr Ben Melladu disclosed this at the presentation of the Local Government Staff Verification Report to Gov. Samuel Ortom on Monday in Makurdi.
Melladu said that out of the 18,426 names of employees submitted to the commission, only 14,966 were genuine while 3,460 failed to turn up for the verification.
He also said that the names of some deceased staff were found on the payroll.
Salary padding, redundancy as well as falsification of retirement dates among other fraudulent practices were also discovered,” he said.
He said the Commission also discovered 3,920 workers who were receiving salaries across the 23 councils but not captured on the payroll.
According to him, the 3,920 workers were employed between 2008 to 2014.
“Based on the staff verification exercise just concluded, we have established that the total monthly salary for Local Government Staff in the 23 Local Government Councils is N865,756,681.00 only.
“This does not include the salary of traditional rulers and Local Government Council members who are expected to come into the office in April 2020.”
Melladu further disclosed that the commission uncovered sharp practices at the bureau for local government and chieftaincy affairs.
“In the last few months of our stay in office, we have realized that hundreds of staff have either passed on or retired from the service, yet the salary is still stagnant.
“This is the starting point of taking this report seriously by monitoring the activities of all stakeholders involved in the payment of staff at the third tier of government.
“Here I am making reference to the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Office of the Auditor-General for Local Governments.
“We must ensure that the third tier of Government in Benue State is fully sanitized,” he said.
Melladu said that the Local Government Councils were overstaffed leading to redundancy, insufficient office accommodation and gross shortage of overheads.
He said the Commission should be allowed to introduce a broad-based electronic system that would automatically calculate the retirement date of every Local Government Staff.
“Since the Commission is responsible for employment, promotion, training, discipline, transfer and retirement of staff, it is reasonable for the commission to also handle salaries.
“We, therefore, pray that his Excellency would kindly consider, approve and direct that the Commission takes over the responsibility for payment of Local Government staff.”
In his remarks, Gov. Ortom regretted that the local government system had decayed over the years, but pledged to take proactive measures to plug the leakages and reposition it.
Ortom assured that the State Executive Council would deliberate on the report and take urgent decision to bring life back into the system.
He commended the commission for their efforts and promised to continue supporting them to succeed.