Over 8,000 ghost workers have been discovered on the payroll of the 23 local government councils of Benue State in the ongoing e-payment of local government staff.
The state also saved over N400 million of local funds from going into private pockets during the payment of the August salaries of the workers.
Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Titus Zam, made this known yesterday in a state-owned radio station news programme monitored in Makurdi, the state capital.
He said: “The e-payment of local government staff has exposed the fraud being perpetrated at the local government level where even former staff of some of the councils were still drawing monthly salaries.
“The point is that the fraud and sharp practices being perpetrated at the councils was what shot up the monthly wage bill to N1.8billion and staff strength of 27,000 which is certainly unacceptable.
“With the e-payment system, we have been able to check the fraud and the staff strength has so far dropped to 19,000 and we believe that the figure will go down further at the end of the verification exercise being carried out by the committee set up by the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.”
Zam insisted that all employments made into the councils from 2013 were illegal and unsustainable, adding that all those involved would be relieved of their appointment.
“I have been receiving threat messages over our decision to reposition the councils, and the truth is that I cannot be intimidated by such threat messages,” he said.