In a bid to sanitize the civil service in Imo, the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma made a shocking revelation when he presented to the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress, the Imo State Chapter as well as the Nigeria Union of pensioners Imo State Chapter that out of 13,800 teachers in state Primary schools, 4800 are ghost workers while only 9000 teachers are genuine.
This is even as he vowed to release the salaries of only 9000 teachers who according to him are genuine teachers.
In a release signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary Oguike Nwachukwu and made available to Lead, the Governor further revealed the administration readiness to make public anytime soon, the eight persons who received N330mllion annually from the pension funds which according to the release are pension fraudsters.
Governor Uzodinma however made it open that he is ready to accept any kind of name given to him by the opposition to salvage and sanitize both the pension scheme and service in Imo.
Executive Governor of Imo State, Dist. Senator Hope Uzodimma has set in motion the process of integrating Imo Pensioners into the National Contributory Pensions Scheme as a way of enhancing good governance.
Governor Uzodimma gave this indication on Friday in a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Imo State at the Executive Council Chambers Government House Owerri. During the meeting, he informed that everything concerning pensions and salary of Imo workers has been automated to make the day-to-day running of Government easy.
The Governor reiterated his earlier stand that pensions and salaries are not negotiable, insisting that what has brought the delay in payment is the discovery of overwhelming fraud, discrepancies, and irregularities resulting from salary padding, over-bloated and double pensions among other sharp practices that include, where some pensioners receiving monies above their retirement salaries and some even outrageous monies that are not accounted for.
Expressing bitterness over the development, the governor said soon names of those who earn above N330m (three hundred and thirty million Naira) per annum as pension will be published for Imo people to know.
“Government will no more make use of microfinance banks for payments of salaries and pensions because they are no clearinghouse for BVN holders,” the governor said and reassured that the government has decided to pay pensioners directly.
By the discoveries as presented to the leadership of pensioners and NLC Chairman who was in attendance, the Governor informed that out of 13,800 primary school teachers, only 9,000 are found to be real and that only primary and secondary school teachers who have been verified and confirmed to be employees of government will receive their salaries.
The Governor advised those playing politics with pensions and salaries to desist from doing so as his sole objective has remained to dismantle the cabal that milk the state dry through the pensions and salaries. “Government has decided to automate all payments to enable it to migrate to the contributory pension scheme.”
In their presentations earlier, the chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Austin Chilakpu eulogized the efforts so far made by the Governor towards payment of salaries and pensions in the State. He however appealed to the Governor to look into the staggering nature of salary pensions and illegal deductions and requested that pensioners pay to be made a priority.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Imo State, Dr.Josiah B Ugochukwu requested the Governor to pay the pensioners harmoniously so that the leaders will be sure of those that received their pensions and others that were genuinely omitted for proper pension administration.
He apologized, on behalf of their perceived members who carried out a peaceful protest against the State Government, describing it as an embarrassment that will never happen again.
Present at the meeting were the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Comas Iwu, the Chief of Staff Government House, Bar. Nnamdi Anyaehie and other members of the State Executive Council as well as the leadership of NUP Imo State.
Meanwhile, Governor Hope Uzodinma of lmo State at the weekend bemoaned the frustration he underwent before subduing pension scammers who were defrauding the government millions of naira monthly.
He said apart from eight persons collecting ₦330m annually, he discovered that more than 1,000 persons who had attained 104 years and above were still being listed as pensioners when in actual fact, they were dead.
The Governor who spoke at a meeting he held with the leaders of organized labor in the state explained that it was never his intention to owe any pensioner, but for the fraudulent activities of a few.
Senator Uzodinma disclosed that some people who retired in 1984 were being allocated more than one hundred thousand naira as pension whereas no civil servant earned such a huge some 35 years ago.
He said the most frustrating was that the head of the service claimed he didn’t have any record of pensioners in the state while there was no one to handover to his government such comprehensive data.
According to the Governor, after blindly paying for three months, he decided to thoroughly carry out a forensic audit to determine those who are genuinely pensioners.
He said by automating the pension database, it emerged that a cabal was fleecing the state of millions of naira monthly.
He gave the names of those collecting₦330m annually as Ajokubi HA ₦65m, Njoku Damian₦5m, Obasi Canice ₦3m, Anyanwu F N ₦150m, Emenalo Theresa₦3m, John Sunday,₦2m, Ajaegbo E O ₦2m, and Ekedere Eunice₦32m.
The governor said the fraud was so endemic and systemic that he took a “tortuous route” to rout the perpetrators.
He was happy that with the conclusion of the exercise, genuine Pensioners will not only receive their pensions as at when due but will have easy access to the database.
He also announced that he will be migrating lmo State to the contributory pension scheme in a bid to ensure that they get more value for their services.
He also said that no pensioner will be paid through any microfinance Bank as that was used as a conduit pipe to drain the state resources.
While thanking the labor leaders for their patience and understanding, he noted that both government and labor were working for the same purpose which is the welfare of workers.