The Niger Government says it has uncovered 7,000 ghost workers in the payroll of the 25 Local Governments Councils in the state.
The government said that the ghost workers were discovered by a consultant it engaged to conduct staff verification in the councils.
Alhaji Adamu Garafini, the Permanent Secretary in charge of the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, announced made the disclosure at a news conference on Monday in Minna.
He said that out of the figure, preliminary reports showed that 3,394 were fake Local Government staff while the rest were teachers in primary schools in the state.
Garafini said that government had hired a consultant to verify the number of workers in the Local Government Areas of the state, following the huge salary bills it had to contend with in the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wages.
He said that a total of 26,846 workers were on the payroll of the 25 Local Government Areas while 23,452 were screened and 19,296 cleared by the consultants.
He said that 3,394 workers did not appear for screening, raising suspicion that they were ghosts.
According to him, the consultant discovered that 207 staff duplicated salary accounts into which monthly stipends are paid simultaneously while 565 are under-aged children on the payroll.
Garafini said that 29,778 teachers were on the payroll out of which 26, 246 were screened and 3, 532 did not show up for verification, adding that 19,761 teachers were cleared.
He said that 620 of the teachers duplicated their salary accounts while 300 were employed after the government had placed embargo on employment.
Garafini said that 2,157 teachers were discovered to be unqualified while 319 were due for retirement but refused to go.