Edward Onoja, Kogi State Chief of Staff ( COS ) to Governor Yahaya Bello, has given reasons why salaries of workers were delayed in the state. He told newsmen in Lokoja Monday, August 6, 2018, that for over 25 years, nobody cared to screen the workforce but preferred to allow ghost workers carte away funds every month in the name of salaries.
Onoja, who did not disclose the amount saved in the screening exercise, said that it would have been politically convenient but morally wrong for Yahaya Bello’s led administration to have left the system and allow few people to continue to syphon the resources meant for the development of the state.
Onoja stated this while speaking with newsmen at a ministerial briefing at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lokoja, saying thousands of people had been removed from the payroll of government due to the screening.
He emphasized that the present administration in the state met an over bloated civil service that had been depleting the resources of the state to the detriment of the people.
Onoja further explained that why the screening exercise took so long was because the damage done over the 25 years was not what one should correct in a twinkle of an eye, saying the present administration was determined to ensure justice for everybody at the end of the exercise.
However, he pointed out that the Bello administration decided to embark on the verification exercise based on its desire to reform the state Civil Service Commission which previous administrations failed to addressed.
Onoja explained further that it was wrong to accuse the new direction government for some deaths and series of hardships recorded while the exercise lasted, adding that the government and labour union in the state had been meeting with committees set up to resolve and tidy up areas that need to be looked into
He also debunked the allegation that the present administration decided not to include elderly people as many of the functionaries were young men and women, stressing that although Bello and his aides were young people, he has equally appointed many elderly people to benefit from their experience and advice.
The COS also hinted that members of the governing councils for the six tertiary institutions in the state were people of 50 years and above.
Contributing, the Director-General, Bureau of Information and Grassroots Mobilisation, Abdulmalik Abdulkareem, stated that the briefing was to showcase the numerous achievements of Gov Bello’s led administration in various sectors