By ANDREW OJIEZEL
WORRIED by the statement credited to the Honourable Minister of Finance that 23,000 “ghost workers” have been discovered on the pay roll of the Federal Civil Service, organised Labour under the platform of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has urged the Federal Government to set up a Joint Government-Labour Investigation Panel to establish the authenticity of the claim.
In a statement by the Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, stated that the Joint Government-Labour Panel on the matter has become imperative before thousands of innocent Civil Servants who have served their fatherland meritoriously for decades are thrown into the over saturated labour market by overzealous political office holders.
According to the ASCSN, given the tardiness that characterized the 2016 Budget, the ripples of which had not completely died down, it is reasonable to insist that due diligence should be done on the “ghost workers” saga. It pointed out that few years ago when a similar alarm was raised about “ghost workers” in the Federal Civil Service, a thorough investigation was carried out at the end of which the whole thing turned out to be a hoax.
“The reason is that by the time a proper inquiry is undertaken and it is discovered that those who are being referred to as Ghost Workers are genuine employees, a lot of damage would have been done to the system. This is certainly not good enough.”
According to the ASCSN, it is also inconceivable that the mere facts that some Civil Servants were not captured in the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and the recent Bank Verification Number (BVN), an exercise that is still on-going, became ready excuses to rush to the conclusion that thousands of “ghost workers” exist in the Federal Civil Service.
The ASCSN argued that it was imperative to investigate the allegation thoroughly otherwise thousands of innocent Civil Servants some of whom use micro finance banks for their salary payments would be victimised and thrown out of the system under the guise of weeding out “ghost workers” from the Federal Civil Service.