Niger State Salary Management Committee was set up to sanitise and clean the payroll of the State Government through the State Executive Council resolution.
A commissioner and chairman of the Salary Management Committee (SMC), Engr Ibrahim Mohammed Panti, made the revelation before members of the House of Assembly Ad-hoc Committee investigating the over payment, under payment, non-payment and salary irregularities in the civil service held at the assembly complex on Monday.
He revealed that after three years of thorough and painstaking job, the report was not implemented and their work was abruptly stopped in December last year, (2020), adding that people expected him to see the truth and turn a blind eye because he was a Nupe man.
He said the quantum of fraud in the public service salary payroll, perpetrated by some few powerful people in the service over the years, cannot be quantified. He said 1,700 people excised from the nominal roll because of fake documents, have allegedly found their way back to the payroll through bribes and unwholesome activities.
The legislative ad-hoc committee, chaired by member representing Bosso constituency, Hon Malik Madaki Bosso, was mandated through the house resolution during plenary, to invite all stakeholders involved in salary management in the state and ascertain why such irregularities happened.
Engr Panti said, “We have been seen as a tool in the hands of some people. And as a Nupe man, people expected me to turn a blind eye to mischievous deeds which as a Muslim I cannot.”
He noted that his committee had undertaken the screening exercise without fear or favour, disclosing that the information they gathered and discoveries made, would do a lot of good to the state if honestly implemented.
According to him, “We have scanned over 200,000 documents of over 25,000 civil servants who presented at least eight documents each on the average. But I am surprised that some of the people we screened and certified to be genuine were not the people on the payroll now.”
Panti told members of the legislative committee that all their efforts were in vain, as government was unwilling to implement findings contained in the interim report, even though a review and implementation committee chaired by the present commissioner for works, Mamman Musa was put in place.
He alleged that there were powerful people who were benefitting massively in the fraud, saying “What we have fought so hard to expunge from the salary payroll has sadly returned. There’s now a corrupt and unreliable payroll data which is going on in Niger State. Manipulation of payroll data is still ongoing seriously. We have the prove,” he claimed.
He said the state was pressured to suspend the work of the salary management committee, because according to him “So many heads were rolling, so many powerful cabals were exposed and the State Executive Council were under pressure to stop our work, and they capitulated to the pressure.”
Panti said although a total list of 26,837 people was given to the committee by the office of the Head of Service, only 25, 980 people registered in their portal. He said after the screening, the committee came out with 24,052 as authentic list, while 479 people were put on hold.
He disclosed further that 212 people were pending because they appeared before the committee without any certificate, 1,219 were rejected based on the falsities of documents and age, while 603 people did not appear.
He said those civil servants recently sacked by the civil service commission their data and reasons for the dismissal, did not tally with their records, disclosing that the committee did not recommend the dismissal of any civil servant.
The chairman of the investigative ad-hoc committee, Hon Malik Madaki Bosso, said the committee was ready to go anywhere to unravel the truth.
He said if anyone was afraid to name and shame the perpetrators of the dastardly acts, his committee will do it. He disclosed that the committee had extended invitation to all those involved, in its commitment to be thorough.