Governor Seriake Dickson has ordered the arrest of a local government official for allegedly collecting the salaries of 300 ‘ghost’ workers every month in Bayelsa State.
This was revealed yesterday by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, at Yenagoa Local Government during the commencement of state-wide town hall meeting on civil service reforms in the state.
The commissioner, who did not give the name of the errant official, hinted that the suspect was an account officer in a local government in the central senatorial zone.
According to Iworiso-Markson, the suspect who was unmasked during staff verification exercise in the local government, cumulatively was illegally earning hundreds of millions of naira per annum.
“That is in just one local government area, there are many places like that in the state. Some people are in the civil service today, yet there is no document in their files. Instead, they were employed with affidavit. The same people who do not have any documents and qualifications are collecting salaries of level 14 workers and above.
“At the Bayelsa State Transport Company, you find a situation whereby there are about 180 drivers, but there are only five or six vehicles for them to drive. You can see the level of rot in the system. So, if we must be sincere with ourselves, we must all agree to join hands with the government to clean the mess,” he said.
The commissioner, who noted that people were averse to reforms everywhere, insisted that the current administration would do everything possible to implement policies that would put Bayelsa on the path of real development.
“Today, everywhere you go, people talk of Bayelsa as a model. This is because of the bold steps the Seriake Dickson-led administration has taken to redeem the state from payroll fraudsters and syndicates.
“People who falsify their documents and ages, buy appointment letters, earn salaries from more than one place and indulge in other criminal acts have used their own hands to sack themselves.”
The Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the state, Chief Godwin Odinka, commended the governor for initiating the reforms.
The 86-year-old Odinka, however, cautioned that in cleaning up the system, care should be taken not to make the reforms look like a witch-hunt.