Oyo State govt to use biometric data to verify the identity of 16K alleged ghost workers
The government of Oyo State, an inland state in south-western Nigeria, said is implementing biometrics authentication technology to verify the identities of over 16,000 workers and pensioners temporarily deleted from its payroll, according to a report by Technology Times.
Alhaji Olalekan Alli, Secretary to the Oyo State Government said the decision was made following alleged collection of multiple salaries, prolongment of retirement age and other violations.
Those impacted were taken from some 100,259 civil employees and pensioners screened from the state’s ministries, departments and parastatals, as well as employees in the areas of education, local government, Broadcasting Service of Oyo State (BCOS), judiciary, Water Corporation and tertiary institutions.
Alli said that the biometrics verification system will help monitor workers’ attendance, efficiency, productivity and service delivery. The exercise will also call on community elders and the citizenry to monitor employees and government facilities in their domains.
The move was made after the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Systems Plc’s (NIBSS) forensic verification exercise — which was part of the Oyo State’s ongoing efforts to eliminate the payroll of fake workers and pensioners scamming the system — revealed that there is likely a number of ghost workers within the Oyo State public service.
The NIBSS’ exercise uncovered several cases of inconsistencies, variations and entry details that did not add up involving 16, 532 employees out of 100,250 analyzed.
These cases included multiple salary payments into single account, multiple salary payment to single name, employees that have passed retirement age, invalid BVN, invalid bank accounts and name details and employees with mismatched names.
The affected 16,532 people will be granted the chance to state their case when they appear before a four-member panel being formed by the government to authenticate the NIBSS’ findings, said Alli.
The panel will include representatives of the government, the consultants and the workers’ union, with the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Finance of Oyo State serving as secretary.
“Further to the continuing efforts of Oyo State government to eliminate fraud and errors in the payment of salaries, wages and pensions as well as to determine ghost workers, Oyo State government embarked on an employee verification exercise,” said Alli. “We want to ascertain the actual number of employees in the regular employment of the state by various categories, determine who is a bonafide beneficiary of the salaries, wages and pensions being paid by government.”
Alli added that the Oyo State government “will ascertain the level of compliance in respect of mode and format of payment of salaries, e.g payment into bank accounts ensuring recipients have the mandatory Nigeria Uniform Bank Account Number (NUBAN) and BVN numbers.”
Additionally, “all salaries of the 16,532 employees will be immediately suspended pending further investigation; multiple salary payments would be determined; refunds pursued and legal actions embarked upon accordingly,” Alli said.
Meanwhile, the government will resume regular payment of salaries to those employees that “are deserving of payment while those with cases to answer would be given room to defend themselves.”
The panel will publish its finding, and those individuals found to have been inaccurately classified as a ghost worker will be reinstated.