By Bode Olushegun
Twenty two thousand, five hundred and fifty six ghost workers have been unearthed in Borno State.
This was the finding after two simultaneous verification exercises ordered by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The numbers of ghost workers were contained in separate reports presented on Wednesday to the governor by the committee on local government staff verification chaired by Senator Kaka Malam Yale and another on primary school teachers chaired by Dr Shettima Kullima.
The findings revealed that 14,762 ghost workers were within the local government pay system, while 7,794 ghost teachers were also identified.
A total figure of over N420 million was saved according to the data presented to the Governor. The amount came from about N183.6 million recovered in bogus teachers salary while another N237 million was recovered from ghost local government staff.
In one of the two report presentations, chairman of the Primary School Teachers verification committee, Dr Shettima Kullima explained that the total number of primary school teachers in the 27 local government areas was 26,450 before the verification.
He noted that 24,250 teachers took part in the exercise while about 2,204 did not appear before the committee.
The Chairman further said, the total gross salary of the teachers before the verification was N693 million while the figure had now reduced to N509 million after 18,656 staff were cleared for biometric data capture, which led to the saving of N183 million.
In the other presentation, Senator Kaka Malam Yale who chaired the committee for local government staff verification, said at the end of the exercise, the number of staff members dropped from 71,568 to 56,806, with salary dropping from N1.1 billion to N965 million being the new salary for the 27 local government areas.
After receiving both reports, Governor Babagana Zulum said the verification exercise along several other measures was taken to make the local government a veritable tool for local transformation.
Zulum also said the primary school teachers verification was aimed at improving the standards of education, noting that his administration attached high priority to primary education.
The Governor also said his administration would ensure provision of teaching aids, motivation of teachers through the provision of housing facilities, improve their welfare by rewarding hardworking and exceptional teachers.
Zulum commended donor agencies, particularly, the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, etc., for collabration to improve the standard of education in Borno.
Zulum also said his administration would continue to provide education grants to orphans and the children of the less privileged in communities, while scholarship would be approved in due time for students within and outside the state.
Zulum commended both committees for working tirelessly in discharging their duties.
However, the committee for local government verification was extended by two weeks to make recommendations on some of the issues raised in their report.
Verification of workers in Borno began in 2013 during which thousands of ghost workers were found.
Zulum concluded the exercise at the state civil service level before extending to local government and basic teaching services.