Abia uncovers N160m in recent Biometric Staff Verification exercise

Following recent attempts to sanitise and strengthen the system of governance in Abia State, N160 million (about $804,000) has been saved through a biometric staff verification exercise. Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu on Thursday stated that the recovered money was lost through payment to ghost workers and other manipulation of the system. He disclosed this in a state broadcast to mark the 24th anniversary of the creation of Abia.

Suspicious accumulation of income has been a recurring decimal in Nigeria over the years. While many argue that ghost workers discovered to be present on the Federal government’s payroll are often padded by desperate criminals to line their pockets, it seems as though these crimes are only exposed when the authorities deems it ‘necessary.’ However others insist that officials who allegedly hide under this cover should not be spared. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna state chapter called on the state government to properly investigate officials found culpable in stealing government money through the use of “ghost workers.”

Indeed technology can help the cycle of corruption in Nigeria. But despite the success of this operation may have been attributed to the staff audit of departments, ministries, and agencies (MDAs) on the implementation of the integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the “Ghost workers” syndrome remains a part of the Nigerian system. There is the need for a more lasting however there have been attempts in the past to sabotage the use of Biometrics Identification System to Prevent Ghost Workers in Nigeria’s Federal Payroll.


In October 2014 under Goodluck Johnathan’s administration, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) said it uncovered a total of 60,000 ghost workers in establishments across the country. However this medium used by neither eligible nor legitimate employees is hardly limited to claiming salary benefits alone, 30 percent of pension funds are also lost to unnamed workers.

This is one of the many reasons why recently elected Governor Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu adopted immediate measures such as the intense verification exercise involving workers and pensioners. He reassured  all public officers that his administration will not owe any worker in Abia State their due entitlements.

Ikpeazu gave a detailed insight concerning the progress and direction his administration has taken over the last three months. .  “[…] we have had to compartmentalise the impact we intend to make into the three broad categories of short term, medium term and long term interventions.”

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