In a strategic move aimed at eradicating ghost workers and fostering a more efficient workforce in the local government administration, the Enugu State Government has officially launched a comprehensive physical verification exercise for local government employees.
This initiative, long overdue according to local government workers, is anticipated to bring about a substantial cleansing of the system, ensuring fairness and eliminating inefficiencies within the civil service. The exercise has garnered commendation from workers who believe it will sanitize the system and contribute to the overall improvement of the local government administration.
Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), personally oversaw the verification process to assess the level of compliance among workers and the regularity of attendance within the local government councils. Speaking to the media after inspecting the exercise at the Enugu North Local Government Council secretariat, Prof. Onyia emphasized the fairness and adherence to established best practices in the verification process.
The SSG disclosed that the physical verification is a crucial phase following a continuous process initiated last year. The aim is to accurately identify legitimate staff and weed out those who have infiltrated the local government payrolls illegitimately.
During his unannounced visit, Prof. Onyia highlighted the importance of assessing the punctuality and dedication of workers in discharging their official duties. He emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring that taxpayers’ money is not wasted on paying ghost workers or those who have neglected their responsibilities, hindering the state’s progress.
“The verification team will scrutinize various documents, including appointment letters and schedules. Biometrics captured during the process will be cross-referenced to ensure accuracy. This surprise visit to Enugu North demonstrates our commitment to verifying the actual presence of workers. We aim to address discrepancies between online information and the physical reality,” stated Prof. Onyia.
Expressing concern about the local government system being exploited by individuals seeking to influence it through corrupt means, the SSG assured that the current administration would overhaul the system. This overhaul aligns with Governor Peter Mbah’s ambitious plan to boost the state’s GDP from $4.4 billion to $30 billion.
The physical verification exercise will extend to all 17 local government areas in the state, with the state team monitoring and taking appropriate action against those not captured. Staff members participating in the exercise have applauded the initiative, urging authorities to sanction those compromising the system according to established rules. Mrs. Chime, a participant, pointed out discrepancies in nominal roles and payment vouchers, emphasizing the need for accountability. Mr. Okoh Ignatius, applying for a local government identification letter, supported the government’s efforts to rectify the system, citing deserted offices and stranded service seekers as evidence of the need for reform.