Workers in the Niger State civil services have expressed shock at the decision of the state government for sack 6,000 “casual” and “ghost workers” in the state.
The workers were left out of the payroll after the state government organised screening of workers in December, through a consultant, to determine those who receive salaries from the state.
Many of the affected civil servants, however, faulted the move.
Our correspondent gathered that the civil servants arrived at the office of the Head of Service in the state secretariat as early as 6am over the omittance of their names from the payroll.
One of the civil servants, John Audu, said, “There is no basis for subjecting civil servants again to this stress after the last verification exercise.
“This is my 32nd year of active service and I am nearing retirement, only for them to tell me that if I do not see my name on the head of service list then I am a ghost worker. How can I serve meritoriously till now and some consultants are now saying I am a ghost worker?
“I have been screened and cleared, but only for me to get to the office today and my organisation told me that only those who got February alerts (salary) are verified workers.
“Since I did not get an alert for salary, my boss urged me to rush to the Head of Service office with my appointment letter and pay slip to see if I can get my case rectified.
Another affected worker Isah Abdulkadir said, ”Governor Bello can not tell me that I am a ghost worker. It is very unfortunate that over 6,000 Niger State civil servants, including me who have worked for over 20 and 30 years are being tagged as ‘casual or ghost workers’.
“We went for screening exercise conducted recently by the government and we were paid December, 2015 and January this year and they refused to pay February salary.”
“We are now referred to the Head of Service for another verification. The governor must act fast before it turns to a serious crisis.”
Another affected worker, Hajia Maimuna Kolo, who was with a little baby on her back lamented the treatment meted out on them by the governor despite the screening exercise.
She said, “I got here as early as 6am because on Friday, I heard there were two lists with the Head of Service, the ghost workers list and the verified workers list. We were told to come and confirm which list has our names.
“This was not the change we voted for, we wanted the best for the State, now look at what Governor Bello is doing to us.”
A source close to the Head of Service said it was normal for civil service to be verified from time to time.
“We are already looking at it, we will liaise with the consultant to resolve any problem that has been identified.”