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Borno State goverment raises panel on pensioners’ documentation, payments

Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has raised a biometric data capture panel on pensioners’ documentation and pension payments for retired workers.

Inaugurating the committee recently at the Government House, Maiduguri, Shettima said that the panel headed by Yerima Saleh, an ex-Head of Service (HoS), is saddled with the responsibility of uncovering the problems besetting pensioners’ documentation and payments.

He said though the Workers Biometrics Committee cleared 9,000 pensioners, while 500 pensioners have pending cases that withheld payments of their pensions.

According to him, the panel has representatives of stakeholders that included Mohammed Abdullahi, Ali Grema, and Mai Bukar Galtimari, who represented the National Union of Pensioners (NUP).

He said the inauguration of the panel follows concern by a group of pensioners ‎who protested at Musa Usman secretariat complex over non-payment of their pensions.

Shettima explained that the biometric had been complicated because some persons are still benefiting from all kinds of fraudulent activities ‎through pension payments.

He said the biometric committee had identified ghost pensioners, adding that some persons had been collecting millions of Naira as pensions alongside collection of monthly salaries.

Shettima attributed the simultaneous collection of pension and salaries to “poor payments system” that allowed fraudulent activities in workers’ salary and pension payments.

He further disclosed that over 9,000 pensioners have already been cleared and captured in the biometric exercise with their regular pension payments.

He noted that only 500 pensioners had cases with their biometric data capture, including 53 pensioners, who could not provide their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and bank statements.

Shettima further disclosed that the biometric exercise has already identified about 12,000 ghost workers.

According to him, the exercise has saved N600 million on monthly wage bill of the State Government.

He pledged that the saved money from ghost workers would be re-allocated to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), while government would engage 1,000 teachers and other administrative staff into state’s civil service.

He said with this development, the embargo on employment has now been lifted.

The protesting pensioners told the Governor that they were ignorant of issues of workers biometric data capture exercise.

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