By Morgan Adikwu and James Ibechi
Chairman of Otukpo LGC of Benue State, Mr. George Alli, has charged the staff verification committee he set up, to fish out ghost workers and others thieves in the council’s civil service.
Ali gave the charge while performing the inauguration of the committee at Otukpo on Monday.
Members of the committee include Agbo Uloko, Dan Ekah, Alice Albert, Godwin Ogiri, Comr. Augustine Elaigwu, Mr. Ogbe Ochekliye, Mr. Egbe Joseph and Mr. Desmond Oogwu.
The setting up of the screening panel is in compliance with the state government’s ongoing exercise at authenticating the staff strength and the actual wage bill of the state
The state present over-bloated wage bill of over N7.8 billion (N4.2billion for the state and N3.6 for LG) is adjudged outrageous, unreal and unacceptable.
Alli said the committee is composed of grassroots technocrats, people of integrity, honesty and sincerity, who are familiar with the enormity of their task.
The LG boss further charged the committee members to be just, fair and diligent while discharging their duties.
He stressed that the essence of the verification exercise was not to witchunt anyone, but “fish out” those ghost workers, who are based in Lagos, Abuja and even outside the country, yet collect salaries from Otukpo council coffers, who are also the ones to first cry out on social media of unpaid salaries.
According to Alli, the N7.8 billion wage bill for state, is not tenable, wondering why Benue would be competing with states like Lagos and Kano.
He asked: “Where is the staff of Otukpo council? How many are actually coming to work?”
He appealed to the Director of General Services and Administration (DGSA) and the Head of Personnel and Administration (HPA), to give the committee maximum support, by providing the necessary documents and information the committee will need in carrying out its mandate, stating further that the outcome of the exercise would benefit everyone, especially the Staff of the council.
Responding, D.G.S.A, Mr. Owoicho Amali commended GAlli for the method and strategy adopted.
Amali revealed that the first and last staff rationalisation in the history of Otukpo was done in 1994, where he was the Secretary of the committee that rationalized over 150 staff, during the reign of Late Col. Ochefu as the chairman of the council.
Amali recounted the recent promotion of over 200 staff in Ohimini council, where he was the DGSA and how he vehemently refused to include the living ghost workers, that were living in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, etc, but received salaries from local government.
Amali assured of his support and cooperation.