How we exposed ‘ghosts’ working abroad on our payroll — FG


The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, has disclosed that a recent physical verification exercise by her office exposed workers living abroad but still earning salaries from the service.

Yemi-Esan revealed this to the media on Wednesday in Abuja as part of activities to mark the 2024 Civil Service Week.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports the theme for 2024 celebration is: “Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong, Quality and Relevant Learning in Africa.”

The HoCSF said many of the civil servants, who were caught up in their games, had to resign their appointments, following their failure to carry out the physical verification exercise.

According to Yemi-Esan, the verification exercise was one of the measures by her office to check corrupt practices, run a smooth civil service and reposition the sector.

She said: “Recently, there was a circular that went out to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies that they should do a physical headcount in their MDAs.

“That means everybody on the nominal roll that is receiving salaries should appear physically and the names of those who did not show up for the exercise should be forwarded.

“In the circular, I cautioned that Permanent Secretaries and CEOs that give wrong information will be held liable if anything is discovered outside of the information that was given.”

The HoCSF added that the decision by the government was that after the exercise, they would stop the salaries of those who in one way or the other had left the service without proper documentation, but still earning renumeration.

Yemi-Esan added: “From what I saw, the number of people that have gone out of the country and are still earning salaries is more in the parastatals than in the core ministries.

“I actually called one of the heads of the agencies and queried why there is such a number of people earning salaries and are not on their desks.

“I asked how the agency came about such a huge number of the purported workers.”

Yemi-Esan said the reply she got was that some of the civil servants even returned from the United Kingdom for the verification exercise.

She said: “The Head of that agency told me that he discovered that a week after the verification exercise, some of them rushed from the UK to the country with the intention to do their own verification

“He said they came to him saying: ‘Aah! Oga, we are around; we heard they did verification.’

“The agency head asked them to come back in two weeks time for their verification, knowing fully well that nobody working in the UK will be able to have such luxury of time.”

The HoCSF said from the incident narrated to her, most of the affected workers had to resign their appointments because they knew that the game was over.

She decried the situation where civil servants who did not have official permission to be out of their office would travel out of the country for years and still be earning salaries.

Yemi-Esan added that such development was unacceptable when there were millions of Nigerians waiting to be employed.

She also used the opportunity of the event to appreciate media partners whom she described as “backbone for the successful reforms carried out” by her office since her assumption of duty.

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