Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima has raised a biometric data capture panel on pensioner documentation and pension payments for retired workers.
Inaugurating the committee recently at the Government House, Maiduguri, Shettima said the panel led by Yerima Saleh, a former Head of Service (HoS), was charged with the responsibility of uncovering the problems that undermined the documentation and the pensioner payments.
He said the Workers’ Biometrics Committee has cleared 9,000 pensioners, while 500 pensioners have pending cases withholding their pension payments.
According to him, the panel has representatives of stakeholders that include Mohammed Abdullahi, Ali Grema and Mai Bukar Galtimari, who represent the National Union of Pensioners (NUP).
He said the inauguration of the panel follows the concern of a group of pensioners who protested at the Musa Usman secretariat complex over non-payment of their pensions.
Shettima explained that biometrics had been complicated because some people still benefit from all kinds of fraudulent activities through pension payments.
He said the biometric committee had identified ghost pensioners, adding that some people collected millions of Naira as pensions alongside collecting monthly salaries.
Shettima attributed the simultaneous collection of pensions and salaries to a “poor payment system” that allowed fraudulent activities in workers’ salary and pension payments.
He also disclosed that more than 9,000 pensioners have already been foiled and caught 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 also disclosed that the biometric exercise has already identified about 12,000 ghost workers.
According to him, the army saved N600 million on the monthly salary of the State Government.
He promised that the money saved by ghost workers will be reallocated to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), while the government will engage 1,000 teachers and other administrative staff in the state civil service.
He said that with this development, the embargo on employment has now been lifted.
The protesting pensioners told the governor that they were ignoring the issues of the biometric data capture exercise of the workers.