The Secretary to the Government of Kogi State, Dr.. Mrs. Folashade Arike Ayoade while giving her opening remarks at the event, harped on the need to reposition the civil service through reforms. She lamented the fact that the civil service was bedevilled by the ghost workers syndrome, saying the staff verification exercise will permanently lay the ghosts to rest.

The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Edward Onoja hailed the sacrifices of members of the verification committee. He said their labour will help reposition the State Civil Service. He said an overbloated public service which takes a large chunk of state resources but add little value to the system is not a problem peculiar to Kogi State but rather a national problem hence, the governor took the bull by the horn and decided that the system must be cleansed. Hon. Onoja opined that the past 11 months have been harrowing for everyone including His Excellency.

According to Hon. Onoja: "The previous government owed backlogs of salaries. Those who refused to pay the workers paid their pockets. Governor Bello took the decision to weed out ghost workers and unintended beneficiaries from the payrolls of government. It is a decision that must come to fruition".

The Chairman of the Review Committee, the State Auditor a General of the State, Mr. Okala said that the Staff Screening and Verification Committee was set up in February with Rtd General Okuntimo as Chairman. He was later removed on the firm insistence of Labour Union. The Committee eventually was made up of Labour Union up to 60%.

On July 25 when the screening was concluded, there were complaints from many people. Which necessitated a Review and Complaints Committee.

Below are findings and observations:

1. Falsification of records in breach of Civil Service Rule. Exemplified in alterations in declaration of age, discrepancies in APA files, multiple birth certificates with different dates. 1193 cases in all in MDAs. While total case is 2968 in LGAs. LGEA teachers 1843. LGEA offices are 292.

2. Presentation of forged or questionable academic certificates including First School Leaving Certificates, WASCs, Diplomas, First Degrees and in some cases Masters Degree.

Total of 874 across the state.

3. Abuse of study leave. 4 out of every 10 civil servant screened were either on study leave or just returned. Meaning at every point in time 25% of civil servants were in schools studying courses not related to their jobs.

4. Civil servants got approvals without applications, sometimes neither applications nor approvals, approval of back to back study leave without recourse to civil service rules.

5. Violation of study leave conditions, i.e failure of staff to resume at work during holidays, etc.

6. Incessant promotions of staff who have gone on unapproved study leaves.

7. Diaspora employees who live outside Kogi State who claim they're staff of LGA or State.

8. Children of highly placed children were placed on salaries without being employees.

9. The payrolls were saturated with names of pupils and students. This is a clear breach of the civil service rules.

10. Some civil servants above 60 years who remained in service.

11. Cases of backdated employment. Total of 969 across the state.

12. Public servants with excellent results who could neither read nor write. Some even needed interpretaters when they appeared before the review committee. Surprisingly, some of such people are on Grade Level 10.

13. Cases of impersonation where relatives of dead staff took over the identity of deceased while they kept collecting salaries.

14. Double or multiple employments where people earn money from multiple sources.

15. Overstaffed LGAs. The LGA with the least number of staff had over 1000. Most have between 2000 and 2500. Which is why many of the staff only appeared at work when salaries are paid or during screening.

16. Abuse of retirement age amongst non academic staff in tertiary institutions.

17. Many dead pensioners whose names are supposed to have been removed from payroll still getting paid.

18. Cases of pensioners earning salaries and pension at the same time.

19. The Committee also observed pensioners drawing double or multiple pension from LG, State and/or Armed Forces.

20. It was reported that civil servants who work in the Education Offices at the Local Government levels promote themselves above their counterparts on the field. This is better imagined.

Cleared Civil Servants — 45,148

MDAs — 19,356 before verification and now 12, 324 (after the verification exercise).

LGAs — 22, 943; verified 13,380.

LGEA Teachers — 19,147; verified 9,364.

LGEA Office — 2,940, 1618 verified.

Pensioners 5,916; 5,314 verified.

Local Government Pensioners — 5,545; verified 3,045.

Uncleared workers as at December 1, 2016 are a total of 29,722.

(Uncleared workers here refers to those who have not been able to clear the question mark on their status as workers).