Posted by News Express | 6 October 2017 | 1,384 times
The Bayelsa State government on Thursday said it has uncovered fraud in the monthly wage bill of local government councils to the tune of N322 million.
Governor Seriake Dickson disclosed this while addressing the state wing of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) on the occasion of 2017 World Teachers Day celebration.
Represented by the Commissioner for Education, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite, Dickson said the fraud was uncovered by a special committee set up by the government to checkmate payroll fraud in the local government councils.
The Governor said that with the discovery, the state was making headway in its effort to eliminate ghost workers in the payroll which he said accounted for why the local government councils have been unable to pay their work force, particularly the primary school teachers.
Primary school teachers in the state have been on strike since August 11 2017 over 11 months of unpaid salaries by the local government councils.
The Governor announced that a Special Judicial Commission of Inquiry would be set up to investigate all those suspected to have been involved in perpetrating the fraud.
Dickson gave assurance that with the reforms being formulated to minimise wastages in the local government system in the state, payment of primary school teachers salaries would be a shared responsibility of the state and local government councils.
He commended the teachers for their efforts in the various schools, which he acknowledged had led to significant improvement in the performance rating of the state in both West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) examinations, coming fifth and third respectively in the two examinations conducted by the two bodies throughout the country .
In his address earlier, Kalama John Tonpre, the state NUT Chairman, outlined a catalogue of issues which he emphasised were adversely affecting the education sector in the state.
He said that teachers were suffering a backlog of unpaid salaries ranging from nine to 11 months, adding that the government had not implemented and conducted fresh promotion exercises for teachers since 2013.
Others included non-payment of N18,000 minimum wage arrears to both primary and secondary teachers, non-payment of duty post allowances, inadequate provision of instructional materials and acute shortage of teachers, among others.
“Also of utmost concern to the NUT is the pace of deprivation of teacher-pensioners from enjoying their retirement benefits,” Tonpre stated.
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