Where Have All OUR Ghosts Gone?

In 2016 I wrote two posts, ‘Who Will Save Nigeria From Ghost Workers?’ and ‘Ghosts Everywhere’. On 23rd April, 2016, in Vanguard newspaper, the Bureau of Public Enterprises said they saved Nigeria N185 billion naira by weeding out 65,000 ghost workers. That same month in another Vanguard newspaper on 20th April, 2016, EFCC said there were 37,395 ghost workers in the Civil Service and the number would get higher as they dug deeper. In February of the same year the Minister of Finance in testifying before the Senate said that by introducing Bank Verification Numbers they discovered 23,000 ghost workers in the service of the Federal Government. The Labour Union came out and challenged our government and the EFCC and the authorities to show us one ghost worker. Of course till today they did not produce one.

Since these posts the silence has been deafening. Of course I did not expect a reply from anybody. But what I find shocking is that journalism in Nigeria is a bit of joke. Where are our investigative journalists? I remember a programme, ‘Sixty Minutes’ sometime ago on CNN in which a journalist would follow a restaurant owner with a rat infested kitchen and expose him publicly. But this is much bigger. Our money is being stolen in billions and the journalists and newspapers just give us fantastic headlines but cannot follow up their headlines and see stories to the end. They cannot raise a finger to help the society and only parrot what the government wants us to hear. Why has nobody followed up the ghost workers story? What happened to all the money stolen by people who were not employees or ex-employees at all levels of our governments? Or our ghost workers were just ‘flushed out’ and the matter ended there. But it is clear from a recent keke operator incident mentioned later in this post that they are still there collecting free money. It seems that the ghost workers phenomenon has been swept under our insatiable carpet like all the other unpalatable matters buried under it? People are still stealing Nigeria’s money and nobody cares. Who knows how many billions we have lost to ghost workers at all levels, federal, state and local governments? Only a few days ago the news broke that a state civil servant had put his keke operator brother on government payroll for years and this has only just been discovered and both parties have been charged to court. Hurray! One ghost worker down at last. Well, let me confess that some time ago I read in one Daily that some judges had to refund salaries they had been collecting long after they left service. What about the other hundreds of thousands. Why must we be taking two steps forward and three backwards. I ask once more, who will save Nigeria from Ghost workers?

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