Kogi work­ers scream­ing over screen­ing re­ports

Weekly Trust - - News -

the “ghost work­ers and un­in­tended ben­e­fi­cia­ries”.

But the re­port’s pre­sen­ta­tion which was cel­e­brated by the gov­ern­ment and tele­vised live, was again fol­lowed by screams from work­ers and labour unions in the state, who al­leged that many gen­uine work­ers were be­ing screened out as “ghost work­ers/ un­in­tended ben­e­fi­cia­ries” on triv­ial grounds.

Fol­low­ing that, a 23-mem­ber Screen­ing Re­view and Com­plaints Com­mit­tee headed by Al­haji Yakubu Okala was once again set up on Au­gust 8, 2016 to re­view the ex­er­cise within three weeks. But it could not sub­mit it un­til late De­cem­ber 2016, caus­ing ad­di­tional out­cry, from civil ser­vants who could not as­sess their salaries for over 10 months.

Af­ter a long wait, the com­mit­tee on Mon­day, Jan­uary 16, 2017, re­leased its re­port to the var­i­ous MDAs and lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas across the state, in­di­cat­ing that a to­tal of 43,522 work­ers were on the “cleared list” while 32,753 oth­ers were those on the “un­cleared list”. The re­port also in­di­cated that a to­tal of 8,879 was the fig­ures of those cat­e­go­rized as ghost work­ers on the pay­roll of gov­ern­ment.

But the out­come of the said re­port which saw larger per­cent­age of the state’s work­force cat­e­go­rized ei­ther un­der the “un­cleared work­ers” or “ghost work­ers”, has been gen­er­at­ing furore.

In Lokoja, coun­cil staff protested over their ex­clu­sion from the list of cleared work­ers, ex­press­ing shock at find­ing their names on the “un­cleared list” af­ter be­ing cleared ear­lier. One of the staff, Us­man Nuhu, said he had worked for over 20 years in the coun­cil.

Many staff in other state min­istries vis­ited by our cor­re­spon­dent had sim­i­lar com­plaints with some say­ing that their names were omit­ted from both lists. They called on Gov­er­nor Bello to take a sec­ond look into the re­port, to en­sure that gen­uine work­ers were not screened out.

On its part, the Kogi State Pub­lic Ser­vice Joint Ne­go­ti­at­ing Coun­cil, an um­brella body of work­ers in the state, con­demned the screen­ing com­mit­tee re­port, de­scrib­ing the out­come as “pre­med­i­tated at­tempt to re­trench work­ers”.

The Kogi State House of Assem­bly, in a res­o­lu­tion passed at ple­nary, con­demned the out­come of the screen­ing, say­ing it has sub­jected many work­ers to un­told suf­fer­ing, and in some cases death.

Gov­er­nor Bello has in­au­gu­rated a 32-man Staff Screen­ing Com­plaint and Ap­peal Com­mit­tee to look into the cases of work­ers whose names ap­peared on un­cleared list and those whose names were omit­ted. In­au­gu­rat­ing the com­mit­tee, he charged the com­mit­tee to do a thor­ough job and sub­mit a com­pre­hen­sive re­port to him within six weeks.

Chair­man of the Com­mit­tee and Di­rec­tor of Sud­ies , Ad­min­is­tra­tive Staff Col­lege of Nige­ria (ASCON), Mr John Yila Ayuba, as­sured that the com­mit­tee will leave no stone un­turned in its ef­forts.

Apos­tle John­son Sule­man

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